It is perhaps ironic that pirates of a very different kind are¬†threatening the private maritime security world. A deep concern is gripping a number of security suppliers as fears emerge that criminals may have¬†targeted¬†the industry with a supply of fake certificates.
According to Lloyd‚Äôs List, both¬†shipowners and PMSCs are now¬†at risk of employing unqualified armed guards, and anecdotal evidence from suggests that some firms have found that more than 50% of their workforce‚Äôs certificates contained forgeries.
A number of training providers became aware of forgeries of their own certificates being sold on the internet several weeks ago, and this has prompted¬†an industry-wide investigation involving the UK police and various maritime bodies attempts to discover how widespread the problem is.
The firms alerted the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Security in Complex Environments Group and the Security Association for the Maritime Industry and a¬†large-scale investigation has so far resulted in the raid of at least one forging factory, understood to be in Wales, and at least one arrest.
Lloyd‚Äôs List has revealed¬†the raid in Wales uncovered ‚Äústacks‚Äù of ship security officer, company security officer, first person on scene and firearms competency certificates ready to be printed and dispatched.
SAMI¬†founder Peter Cook said both SAMI and the UK based SCEG have been working with other bodies and agencies to identify the scope and scale of the problem. Speaking on behalf of both bodies, Mr Cook said they are working with members to ensure that rigorous checks are in place to identify any fraudulent certification. He added that SAMI had requested member feedback and assistance on this matter.
‚ÄúWe are deeply concerned about any unlawful practices which may be associated with industry certification, and we support all efforts to bring about any appropriate legal actions or prosecutions,‚Äù he said.
‚ÄúOnce the investigation is complete we will work with all stakeholders with a view to identifying preventative and enforcement measures to address the issue.‚Äù