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Drug smuggling

Drug smuggling

3.6.1 General

The cover provided by the P&I insurers may be in jeopardy when there is drug smuggling or allegations of smuggling. The Company, the P&I insurer or its local correspondent should therefore be contacted immediately. Actions should be taken and evidence collected to protect the Company and the crew members.

3.6.2 Action to be taken

The Master should immediately refer to the Emergency Contingency Plan under the ISM Code or the Ship’s Security Plan under the ISPS Code.

Any guidance provided below should by no means be in conflict with any regulatory requirement related to the ISM and/or ISPS Code(s).

Should drugs be found on board the vessel, broken container seals discovered or sealed lockers be broken into – please see section Seals and doors. The following precautions should be taken until the authorities arrive • the drugs must not be touched

  • inform the local authorities, the P&I insurer and the local correspondent
  • photograph or video the location where the drugs were found
  • leave the area untouched
  • seal off the area to prevent unauthorised access.

When broken seals are discovered and replaced by the crew, a record should be made in the logbook and the bill of lading together with a note of the relevant seal numbers. The relevant authorities should be notified in compliance with the SMS and/or SSP. Empty containers designated as empty should also be verified to be empty in compliance with the SMS and/or SSP.


3.6 drug smuggling

3.6.3 criminal investigations

Drug smuggling constitutes a very serious crime almost anywhere and will lead to criminal investigations being conducted by the authorities. Although the Master and any other persons involved may have the right to remain silent and the right to seek advice from a lawyer before responding to any questions from the authorities, the Master is nevertheless advised to co-operate to the fullest extent with the investigating authorities. He/she should confirm his/her willingness to co-operate but should also ask for a lawyer to accompany him/her during the investigation.

The Master should not direct the crew to lie, destroy, tamper with or hide evidence.

If the Master does so, he/she may be charged with obstruction of justice. If the Master or any other person involved on board is uncertain as to their rights and responsibilities in a criminal investigation, advice should be obtained from the local correspondent or local law office.

3.6.4 evidence to be collected
  • Date and time of the alleged incident
  • position/location of the vessel at the time of the alleged incident
  • names of persons alleged to be involved and statements taken from these individuals, preferably in the presence of lawyers instructed by the Company to act for the Company or the suspected individual
  • names of eye witnesses to the alleged incident and statements taken from them
  • circumstances of the alleged incident.

3.6 drug smuggling

3.6.5 documents to be retained
  • Deck logbook
  • bridge bell book
  • engine logbook
  • engine bell book
  • oil record book
  • chart used (paper or electronic) – do not tamper with or erase any marks/data
  • itinerary of last ports of call with all details, such as
  • date and time of arrival and departure
  • tug boats in assistance on arrival and departure
  • pilots in attendance on arrival and departure
  • agents of the ports
  • names of suppliers, repairers, visitors and other persons logged as having attended the vessel during the stay in port.
Disclosure of the vessel’s documents, statements or reports should not be made without the prior authority of the Company, the P&I insurer, correspondent or lawyer instructed on behalf of the Company. Nevertheless there must be full co-operation with the authorities
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