Hundreds of Bangladeshi sailors have taken jobs on seagoing vessels with fake Certificates of Proficiency (COP) and Certificates of Competency (COC), said the Cyber Police Centre at a news conference on Monday after the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arrested five persons involved in making the fake certificates.
CID members raided the Oriental Global International Maritime Academy in the northern part of the capital on Sunday based on allegations made by the Department of Shipping and arrested four current and one former official of the academy, Cyber Police Centre Additional DIG Kamrul Ahsan told reporters.
The arrestees are Managing Director Sirajul Azad, 35, Directors Manjurul Azad, 32, Tariqul Azad, 30, IT officer Md Rashedul Islam, 30, and former IT officer Md Sohel Rana.
During the raid, the computer used to create the fake website was found to be connected to the relevant database server where over 120 certificates with a COP number were uploaded at different times.
Kamrul Ahsan said only the Department of Shipping is authorised to issue the certificates. Sailors take jobs on seagoing vessels by preparing documents through 61 recruiting agencies recognised in 48 countries.
The Additional DIG further said the arrestees created a website called www.dos-gov-bd.online similar to that of the Department of Shipping and fake certificates were shown as verified. Due to such fake certificates, the image of Bangladesh in the international maritime industry is severely tarnished.
The gang used to take Tk3 to 5 lakh for a fake certificate and after the sailor gets a job they used to take an amount from the salary as commission.
Such fake certificates used to be uploaded on the website of the shipping authority and at the end of verification, those would be removed. An investigation will be carried out to determine if any insider of the shipping authority is involved in this incident or racket, he added.