It has been reported that fraudulent fixtures are being circulated in the market by bogus brokers, working together with bogus agents for the extortion of funds from owners and disponent owners.
The fixtures tend to quote the names of well-known chartering entities and the bogus brokers who are negotiating these fixtures appear to well versed in shipping practice and requirements. They may spend time focusing on one particular aspect of the fixture during negotiations, distracting owners from carrying out their usual pre-fixture checks. Once the fixture is firm, bogus agents are nominated and funds requested in advance of the vessel’s arrival at the indicated load and discharge ports. Further funds may also be requested in advance for customs charges and other miscellaneous items with promises of reimbursement if appropriate.
Members should be cautious when fixing in the above mentioned circumstances and if possible make direct enquiries with the named charterers to validate the business. Consideration might also be given to checking the identity of the load and discharge port agents and the availability of the subject cargoes at the load port.