497 - 11/06 - Customs Fines - Dakar, Senegal
Authorities in Dakar appear to be concentrating on ship’s compliance with the Customs Code; paying particular attention to ship’s declarations of manifests, stores and bunkers. The following information and advice highlights particular cases as reported by the Club’s correspondents.
A very large fine was imposed on a ship for failing to have the bunker declaration form completed by the time the boarding officer arrived in the master’s cabin. In this case the chief engineer completed his soundings / calculations after waiting until ship was no longer rolling in the swell outside the port.
The boarding officer accused the master of "fraud" and duly imposed a fine based upon the combined value of the fuel & diesel oils, bonded stores and paint on board x2 (as allowed under the Customs Code). The sum was in excess of Euro €100,000.
A master prepared additional pages and attached them to the official declaration forms. Because he had not written a remark upon the official form to the effect "See pages 1, 2, 3 etc attached to this form" the extra forms were returned to him and he was accused of committing fraud against the customs and another very large fine was imposed.
As of 22 November 2006 we understood that there are three other ships under detention / arrest by Customs in the port of Dakar, involving similar issues and large claims.
Advice to masters
1) Prepare Dakar customs declarations in good time, having already requested in advance the written confirmation of the latest requirements in this respect from the ship’s agent.
2) The master should himself receive the Customs officers on board for formalities, in company with the ship’s agent.
3) Ensure that all consumables, including food, paint, stationery, crew personal effects etc. have been accurately declared.
4) Place all the customs papers in a separate file to be checked by the ship’s agent before their presentation to the Customs boarding officer.
If the master has been unable to fully complete all the declarations in accordance with the latest Customs rulings before the ship is safely alongside, he should delay lowering the gangway until he is fully satisfied that all is finally in order.
Source of information:
ELTVEDT & O'SULLIVAN as Managers' Agents for TCI AFRICA
Tel: +33 (0) 4.91.14.04.60
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