BIMCO's position on "smuggling" has been approved by the BIMCO Board of Directors.


The occasional unwitting involvement of merchant ships with smuggling of drugs, weapons, wildlife and other goods can constitute a serious problem to the involved seafarers and the shipowner. Although there is excellent cooperation and communication between the shipping industry, national custom/border control authorities and the World Customs Organization, there have been instances where innocent seafarers and companies have been held responsible for illegal goods placed on board their ships. For involved shipowners, detention of ships and arrest of crews are not uncommon and the potential for large fines and penalties is very real.

BIMCO’s position

  • Firm and prompt action should be taken by states against those using merchant ships for smuggling purposes.
  • Confiscation of ships used for drug smuggling cannot be accepted, unless a fair trial finds the shipowner guilty of direct involvement in the crime, on which the confiscation is warranted.
  • Campaigns to raise the awareness to reduce and prevent smuggling are supported by BIMCO.
  • Based on a shared interest, shipowners, operators and other industry stakeholders should co-operate in combating all elements of smuggling.
  • Custom authorities should reward proactive and co-operative shipowners and operators in the form of priority treatment, minimal delays and mitigating circumstances on crew, ships, operators and shipowners in any investigation.


Rasmus Nord Jorgensen
in Copenhagen, DK

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