THE International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) has issued a warning about false diving qualifications and the threat this poses to safety. It says there is a growing number of cases where divers have used, or attempted to use, falsified qualifications to gain employment or as a prerequisite for further training.
“This has obvious safety implications and, as a result, we urge the following practice for diving contractors to reduce their chances of employing a diver who does not hold an appropriate qualification,” warned IMCA’s technical director, Jane Bugler.
“We advise that when employing a diver for the first time, contractors should look carefully at certificates and logbooks – forgeries have often been found to be of poor quality. References should be followed up or contact made with previous employers. Certificates should be checked against other photo ID such as a passport. Contractors should run a check against lists of invalidated certificates. And, if they are in any doubt, contractors should contact the issuing body (information note IMCA D 06/05 sets out contact details for HSE and all IMCA-recognised bodies).
“We are also aware of falsified experienced diver competence assessment certificates in circulation. These fraudulent certificates have been based upon those accepted under IMCA’s information note D 26/01.”
Bugler said in a statement that the IMCA was happy to help members identify the appropriate body for verifying diving certificates. Checks on certificates issued by national authorities can be made as described in IMCA’s information note D 16/07 and checks on experienced diver competence assessment can be made through the issuing organisation.
“If one fraudulent diver can be prevented from diving, that call to +44 (0)20 7824 5520, faxed inquiry to +44 (0)20 7824 5521 or e-mail inquiry to email@example.com will have been well worthwhile. Divers using falsified qualifications are not only a danger to themselves, but to all around them,” added Bugler.