The following information about counterfeit pilot ladder products and fake documentation, is provided for the understanding of the Australasian Marine Pilots Institute (AMPI), the New Zealand Maritime Pilots Association (NZMPA) and their members, Maritime New Zealand, AMSA-licensed coastal pilotage providers and their respective coastal pilot bodies.
Recently in March 2019, one of AMSA’s Port Marine Surveyors in Western Australia came across a pilot ladder onboard a vessel which appeared (on initial inspection), to be non-compliant with the pilot transfer requirements (see image below).
The associated ‘inspection certificate’ (see image below) presented at the time of the AMSA inspection, suggested that the ladder was made by ‘Qingdao Good Brother Marine Life-Saving Appliance Co. Ltd’.
Some of your respective members may recall a previous case back in November 2017, where this particular company’s products were the subject of a separate investigation. This investigation was instigated on the basis of a complaint made to AMSA by a port pilot (and member of the AMPI Executive). In the instance referred to in this email, it is not the same manufacturer who has done the wrong thing.
On receipt of the information provided by the AMSA surveyor, AMSA’s ‘Head of Inspections – Ship Inspection and Registration’ passed the photos on to the China Classification Society (CCS), who has since carried out another investigation with the manufacturer.
The reply received from CCS indicated that another company had apparently purchased ladders manufactured by the ‘Qingdao Good Brother Marine Life-Saving Appliance Co. Ltd’, then copied the product and created their own (fake) certification for it. They have then sold the counterfeit products to customers who thought they were purchasing the genuine item.
It should be noted that genuine ladders from the ‘Qingdao Good Brother Marine Life-Saving Appliance Co. Ltd’ are fitted with a compliance plate as per the photograph below. The compliance plate makes references to a ‘Type Approval Certificate’ issued by CCS:
The response received from CCS also indicated that the fake ‘pilot ladder inspection certificate’ did not include various anti-counterfeiting features and marks of authenticity which are included in genuine CSS marine product certificates / ‘type approval’ certificates.
CCS kindly provided AMSA with an example of a genuine CCS ‘Certificate of Marine Product’, which is attached for your reference. Please click on the image below to see the file titled ‘China Classification Society (CCS) Official Product Certificate.pdf’, so that you are aware of what a genuine ‘type approval’ certificate looks like. Although the certificate pertains to a ‘copper alloy propeller’, the format and marks of authenticity are the same as would be provided for a ‘pilot ladder’ certificate of marine product.
In the event that a marine pilot suspects or identifies a non-compliant pilot ladder (particularly anything which may be associated with suspected counterfeit manufacturing and/or certification), AMSA encourages you to inform AMSA (or MZN as appropriate), so that appropriate follow-up action can be taken as may be required.
AMSA would like to note that on both occasions, CCS have been very responsive to AMSA’s requests for assistance and launched an investigation the same day AMSA notified them of our concerns. AMSA has also been advised that as a result of the investigation, the ‘Qingdao Good Brother Marine Life-Saving Appliance Co. Ltd’ has taken legal action against the ‘Shenzhen Import & Export Company Ltd.’ for producing fake copies of their products.
This is a good outcome for all stakeholders and we trust the above information is of value to Australian and NZ marine pilots. AMSA has provided this update in an effort to share relevant information with industry, and to demonstrate AMSA’s commitment to addressing pilot complaints about non-compliant pilot transfer arrangements, noting that such correspondence and liaison normally takes place behind the scenes and is not always directly visible to pilots.
PRINCIPAL ADVISOR - COASTAL PILOTAGE
Level 9 , 410 Ann Street, Brisbane QLD 4000
PO BOX 10790, Adelaide Street, Brisbane QLD 4000