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Maritime Crime

NCJ Number
International Criminal Police Review Issue: 429 Dated: (March-April 1991) Pages: 25-29
E Ellen
Date Published
5 pages
Specific forms of maritime crime include insurance fraud, charter party fraud, documentation fraud, cargo crimes, drug crimes, piracy, and terrorism.
In some cases, substantial borrowing to purchase ships has caused ship owners to look for a way out of financial difficulties by perpetrating insurance fraud. Marine hazards are frequent enough and usually difficult to verify, and scuttling a vessel and claiming it to be the victim of a natural hazard is tempting to unscrupulous owners. The scuttling process has been refined to the point where scuttling crews have their own businesses to dispose of ships. Charter party fraud involves taking money for transporting cargo and then walking away with the freight money. Another form of maritime fraud involves ships which transport legitimate cargo, but deliver the cargo to an incorrect destination where an illicit buyer purchases the cargo. Problems involving documentation fraud are becoming more common, especially as document forgers become more sophisticated. Cargo theft and clandestine drug shipments are also common. One of the most significant aspects of piracy is the apparent inability or unwillingness of individual countries to initiate preventive actions. Terrorism received prominence as a maritime crime with the Achille Lauro incident in 1985. A distinction is made between social crimes related to drugs, piracy, and terrorism and commercial maritime crimes.


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