Thursday, 26 April 2012

Senior Indian officer fined for fraudulent sea-service documents in UK

Indian national Boorzeen Murzban Dantra has been fined a total of £7,603.21 including costs by a Southampton court for charges relating to breaches of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 and the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981. Dantra pleaded guilty to producing fake discharge and watchkeeping certificates that claimed he had served for 19 months on two anchor-handling vessels; he used these to support his application for the Orals Examination for a Masters Certificate of Competency (CoC). This was accepted and the appropriate documentation was issued. 

This happened in January last year. However, the Enforcement Unit of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) discovered in October 2011 that Dantra's documents were forged; Dantra had instead worked on an Offshore Floating Storage Unit (FSO), and had actually worked on one anchor handling vessel, not two. His documents were found fraudulent by the MCA. Moreover, his sea time on the FSO did not meet eligibility requirements for a Masters CoC.

"This is a worrying offence as lots of us travel by sea, we expect properly qualified Masters to be in charge,” the chairman of the Southampton court bench commented at the hearing. 

MCA's Roger Towner was severely critical of Dantra as well. “A Master's Certificate of Competency places great trust and responsibility on the holder. His (Dantra's) attempt to defraud the certificate structure devalues the certificate that others have worked hard to achieve,” he said, adding that Dantra, as Master, would have potentially placed his vessel, his fellow seafarers and the public at risk with the fraud.

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