The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has MOU with the World Customs Organization (WCO) and has observer status with Interpol (ICPO). IMB’s primary responsibility is to protect the integrity of international trade by seeking out fraud and malpractice. For over 25 years, it has used industry knowledge, experience and access to a many well-placed contacts around the world to do this: identifying and investigating frauds, spotting new criminal methods and trends, and highlighting other threats to trade. The information gathered from the sources and during investigations is provided to members in the form of timely advice via some different communications routes. It lists the threats and explains the members can cut their vulnerability to them. Over the years, this approach has thwarted many attempted frauds and saved the shipping and trading industry with many millions of money.
The International Maritime Bureau provides an authentication service for trade finance documentation. It also investigates and reports on some other topics, notably documentary credit fraud, charter-party fraud, cargo theft, ship deviation and ship finance fraud.
As well as helping to prevent crime, the IMB also must educate both the shipping community and a wider audience that comprises just about every entity engaged in a trade. To this end, the IMB runs a regular series of courses and training programs that have a wide-ranging syllabus and many proven benefits. It also offers bespoke consultancy services in areas such as ship and port facility.
One of the IMB’s principal areas of ability is in the suppression of piracy. Concerned at the alarming growth in the phenomenon, this led to the creation of the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre in 1992. The Centre is based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It maintains a round-the-clock watch on the world’s shipping lanes, reporting pirate attacks to local law enforcement agencies and issuing warnings about piracy hotspots to shipping.
IMB Piracy Reporting Centre-Before 1992, shipmates and ship operators have nowhere to turn to when their ships were attacked, robbed or hijacked either in port or out at sea. Local law enforcement either turned a deaf ear or choose to ignore that there was a serious problem in their waters. The International Maritime Bureau aware of the escalating level of piracy and wanted to give a free service to the seafarers and established the 24-hour IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The primary aim of the PRC is to be the first point of contact for the shipmaster to report an actual or attempted attack or even suspicious movements thus initiating the process of response.
The main aim of PRC is to raise awareness within the shipping industry, which includes the shipmaster, ship-owner, insurance companies, traders, etc., of the areas of high risks associated with armed robberies on board ships. The PRC works closely with various Government and law enforcement agencies and is involved in information sharing in trying to cut and ultimately eradicate this crime.
Voluntary contribution funds the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre. Without this contribution, the PRC could do any function.