ITIC circular: Crew scam warning
ITIC has often issued warnings about ship agents being used by people smugglers to cover the movement of illegal migrants.
The basic pattern is for owners/managers to approach the agent asking the agent to attend the vessel's call including giving assistance with a crew change. The approach is a sham but the agent’s involvement will provide cover for the migrants’ arrival in the country. The migrants will promptly disappear. The agent will be left with unpaid hotel bills and can face fines from immigration authorities as well as being liable for detention and repatriation costs if the migrants are caught.
Recently we have seen a re-emergence of this scam. Therefore, ITIC reminds all agents worldwide to be vigilant when being approached by owners or crew managers who are unknown to them.