Smuggling of Drugs, Contraband etc…

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.

P&I conditions,

whilst providing cover for costs and fines, specifically exclude loss of earnings.

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.