Container seals tested... - Ships Nostalgia
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Container seals tested...

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  #1  
Old 30th March 2012, 19:13
Andrew Craig-Bennett's Avatar
Andrew Craig-Bennett Andrew Craig-Bennett is offline  
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Container seals tested...

I had the pleasure of sitting in a lecture given by Captain Mukundan of-the International Maritime Bureau this morning.

Muku is a seriously bright bloke and a great lecturer - and who doesn't enjoy tales of fraud and chicanery on the high seas - but one slide struck home in particular, a graph showing the results of tests on container seals with time to open seal on the vertical axis and cost of seal on the horizontal axis.

More than two hundred tests of different seals were shown = the median time to open a seal was 4.9 seconds and on this axis the cheapest seal cost US$2.7c and the most expensive cost US$600. Both failed in 4.9 seconds!

Much more seriously he made the point that whilst Somali pirates are violent their violence is usually a means to an end whilst some West African pirates are violent for no reason at all. He gave the example of a ship's Master who was shot and killed after he had opened the safe in his day cabin - there was no "reason" at all to kill him.
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Old 30th March 2012, 19:42
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I always thought that the seal was to prove tampering hadn't taken place not to prevent broaching of the cargo, just out of interest did the expensive seal have some form of electronic tracking fitted?

Can't remember what was in the boxes but I remember welding fastenings across the doors on some boxes in either Lae or POM to make sure that the contents didn't go walkabout - banknotes for destruction rings a bell mind you the Kina notes always looked like they were ready for renewal!!

Sometimes I wonder if the violence to persons by pirates is a sort of "induction to the gang" for the junior members, once they have shown their metal they needn't do it again and can resort to tying up the Master and Chief Engineer together in a state of undress!!
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Old 30th March 2012, 19:52
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Andrew Craig-Bennett Andrew Craig-Bennett is offline  
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I'll ask Muku next time I see him. He did give us all a short course on "the five ways to get into a container without breaking the seal"...

Good point about the violence I think.

Another point he made was that after the Indian Navy sank four motherships the Somalis stopped going anywhere near the coast of India.
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Old 31st March 2012, 21:49
Ron Dean Ron Dean is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett View Post
I'll ask Muku next time I see him. He did give us all a short course on "the five ways to get into a container without breaking the seal"...

Good point about the violence I think.

Another point he made was that after the Indian Navy sank four motherships the Somalis stopped going anywhere near the coast of India.
Andrew, I was very surprised to read the point relating to the Somali pirates.
The distance between the Somali & Indian coasts, must be in excess of 1500 miles.
I can only think that any ships approaching the Somali coast through the Gulf of Aden (I assume in convoys), are sufficiently well escorted by naval vessels, that causes the pirate mother ships to go so much further afield.
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Old 31st March 2012, 22:55
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Ron - you are quite right. The pirates are going much further afield. The IMB publish a chart on their website:


http://www.icc-ccs.org/piracy-report...ive-piracy-map


The pirates are also using hijacked ships as "mother ships" - on one occasion a VLCC was used, on another a Panamax bulker was used, and currently two chemical tankers are being used. This further extends their range.
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Old 1st April 2012, 14:41
Ron Dean Ron Dean is offline  
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Originally Posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett View Post
Ron - you are quite right. The pirates are going much further afield. The IMB publish a chart on their website:


http://www.icc-ccs.org/piracy-report...ive-piracy-map


The pirates are also using hijacked ships as "mother ships" - on one occasion a VLCC was used, on another a Panamax bulker was used, and currently two chemical tankers are being used. This further extends their range.
Thank you for the link Andrew, I now have a much clearer picture of the extent & the range of the problem.

Ron.
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Old 4th April 2012, 01:08
Klaatu83 Klaatu83 is offline  
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Most container seals can be opened in no time. However, some of the newer types have tracking devices, and remote warning devices that activate in the event of tampering. At least, so I have been told.

My favorite experience with container seals was at Alexandria, where I watched thieves break into a sealed container on the dock right opposite out gangway, not more than 50 feet away, in broad daylight. I pointed out what was going on to the Egyptian security police stationed on our deck, and asked if they were going to do anything about it. They simply shrugged and replied that their jurisdiction was only on board the ship, and that once the boxes were landed on the dock they became somebody else's problem!
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Old 6th April 2012, 19:34
ian keyl ian keyl is offline  
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Container Seals.
I also remember being told the ins and out of the latest seals on the market and how the top men in the business had been at a conference in Malaysia to determine the best seals .
Our man top honcho of PONL security showed me this latest seal they were going to purchase. It was at a inland container depot and he handed me the locked seal to which I then just held one part and twisted the other for about 5 mins or so and the seal came apart . I also showed him to put it back again and to be able to open again and again.
After many reasons why this seal had failed and to rescue his costly decision to purchase these seals i told him that most thefts from containers were not because of the poor seal but because most shipping and haulage companies allow drivers to carry more than one seal on many different shipping lines.
What happens is a driver turns up to load with the notes and seal gives them to the loading company and at the end of loading offers to put the seal on from ground level when the container has pulled off the loading bay. At many loading facilities containers have to back in with there doors open and pull out to close them, unlike internal trailers which are built so the door can open into the warehouse or have rollers shutter doors.
So when the loading operative thinks this is a kind gent saving me from climbing down off the loading deck , he gives the seal to the driver ,he takes it with another seal in his hand and fixes the second seal to the door,on passing security at the gate they see a seal and maybe check it and let it go. At a quiet place he pulls up to meet his mates cuts the old seal off takes what they want and puts the proper seal on the container . On arrival at the other end the poor tally clerk cannot make sence of it .

Even with QA systems in hauliers procedures and shipping lines transport departments they fail to keep a tight rein in seal checks as it is the most labouring job in any logistics company. They all work on the basis of when we here of a claim from the other side of the world in 45 days time then we will do some checking but believe me it is too late as the trail is cold . This is even the view of insurers as I have spoken with many of them at International container conferences.
It is a very small and important item in the chain of logistics but with very little positiveness applied to it.

I have had 32 years ashore in international logistics and the only thing that has changed is the seals look more sophisticated but the system is the same and in some cases worse than when we started away back in 1972.

Maybe the days before the mast and twine and sealing wax were better.

I do sleep at night now(retired). Ian Keyl.
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