Smuggling of Drugs, Contraband etc…01/12/2022
Smuggling of Drugs, Contraband etc…
The Captain of a bulk carrier, arrived from a Chinese port, was arrested by Australian local authorities and charged with drug smuggling after packages filled with cocaine were thrown overboard, for a small boat to pick up.
A forensic examination of the captain’s mobile revealed messages relative to the drug smuggling attempt.
Of course, this caused the arrest and off-hire of the ship, causing loss of earning from the moment of the arrest until the detention is lifted.
In such instances, a crucial element of the equation is the speed and efficacy of the ship’s P&I Club in providing the Letter of Undertaking that will guarantee to the authorities the payment of eventual fines, and free the ship.
Considering that the provision and acceptance of the LoU rarely take less than a couple of days, this type of (not uncommon) event is likely to cause a corresponding loss of earnings for the ship’s owner.
This is a good example of a largely predictable and regularly occurring scenario making an unexpected dent in an owner’s earnings.
It is not a catastrophe scenario, because the loss of two or three days’ earnings is rarely a drama for a healthy operation, but a healthy operation will be frustrated at the awareness that losses could have stopped after only one day’s delay.