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Diving certificate forgeries discovered

Published on 6 September 2023

During a routine review of recent diving contractor Membership applications, IMCA uncovered forgeries of UK HSE diving certificates, IMCA DMT certificates, and CSWIP 3.1U certificates.

The certificates had several inconsistencies, including false serial numbers and duration validity irregularities, which led our experienced team of technical advisers to suspect their authenticity. IMCA’s concerns were brought to the attention of the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who confirmed that the submitted certificates bearing the Executive’s logo were, in fact, forged.

As part of an IMCA diving contractor Membership application, companies are required to provide evidence that they can assemble an IMCA compliant dive team to conduct their diving projects. This condition was not met when the forged certificates were discovered. As a result the applicant company failed IMCA’s audit process, was advised to improve its certificate authentication procedures, and was barred from reapplying for Membership for six months as per IMCA’s application requirements.

IMCA Contact

Bill Chilton
Diving Manager

Bill Chilton Technical Adviser – Diving said: “Fraud, forgery and falsification puts people’s lives at risk, endangers property and is against the law. There’s a potential industry-wide impact if the system is abused which is why IMCA makes every effort to ensure that the certificates within the Membership submission we receive are valid and authenticated, and why we offer industry the tools with which to verify that the certificates they’ve been presented with are genuine.”

IMCA Accredited Diving Systems Inspector, Air Diving Supervisor, Bell Diving Supervisor, Life Support Technician and DP Practitioner certificates can all be checked using IMCA’s online verification portal. In addition, CSWIP underwater inspection certificates issued by the Welding Institute can be verified via the Institute’s own online portal, and diver training certificates can be verified by contacting the relevant certifying authority – see IMCA Information Note 1609 Verification of Diver Qualifications for details.

The forgery of documentation that is relevant to the health and safety of workers is a serious crime which IMCA and the regulatory authorities of many countries take very seriously. In various jurisdictions, when forgery is discovered by the enforcing authorities, it may, quite rightly, lead to criminal proceedings, the result of which can be fines or even custodial sentences.