Nautilus Minerals falls victim to cyber scam, prepays $10m into wrong account

Henry Lazenby | Mining Weekly

Canada’s Nautilus Minerals and Dubai-based marine solutions company Marine Assets Corporation (MAC) report having been the victims of a cyber attack, which resulted in Nautilus paying a $10-million deposit intended for MAC into an unknown account.

The deposit was part of an $18-million charterer’s guarantee that was to be provided at the start of a charter of a vessel that would first be deployed for use at the Solwara 1 project, offshore Papua New Guinea.

TSX-listed Nautilus on Monday explained that under the terms of the vessel charter agreement with MAC, it had arranged to pay MAC a $10-million deposit after the shipbuilding contract between MAC and Fujian Mawei Shipbuilding became effective, which was late November last year.

However, in December, Nautilus discovered that an unknown third party had launched a cyber attack on it and MAC, resulting in Nautilus paying the deposit into a bank account it believed to be MAC’s, but which MAC had subsequently advised was not its account.

“The matter was promptly referred to the authorities in the relevant jurisdictions and an investigation is under way. The company has also engaged a cyber-security firm to ensure the ongoing security of its and MAC’s networks, and to investigate the source of the cyber attack. MAC and the company are cooperating with each other and the authorities to facilitate the timely resolution of the investigations,” Nautilus outlined in a statement.

The company had agreed to prepay the $10-million of the charterer’s guarantee on the basis that the balance of the charterer’s guarantee would be paid to MAC once the vessel charter had started. The two parties had also agreed to determine how to proceed regarding the missing deposit after the conclusion of the investigations, which could “take some months”.

Nautilus noted that vessel construction was progressing in the meantime and that all aspects of the Solwara 1 project continued to progress so that its goal of making seafloor mining a reality could be achieved by early 2018.


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Filed under Corruption, Financial returns, Papua New Guinea

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