We have been advised that the port of Lome in the Republic of Togo has recently seen a sharp increase in the amount of bagged foodstuffs being discharged (mostly rice and sugar). This is due in part to the present state of upheaval in the Ivory Coast.
As a result, there has been a recent and sudden increase in the pilferage of these valuable staple commodities during discharge. In addition to this, the stevedores are regularly using slings that are too small resulting in a significant number of bags falling into the holds, onto deck and onto the quay where the contents are rapidly removed. The stevedores have also been seen negligently handling the bags causing much tearing and spillage.
We have been advised it is likely that there will be an increase in the number and quantum of Customs fines for short landings and that French based agents will make anticipatory demands for Club security or cash deposits in order to cover any eventual Customs fines.
We do not recommend appointing armed guards during discharge nor do we recommend that masters or crew become involved in attempting any physical intervention or the taking of photographs in instances where pilferage is seen to be occurring. Any such action is likely to cause an extreme reaction from the stevedores. We do however recommend that extra vigilance be maintained and that a competent surveyor be engaged to monitor the operation. We advise owners only to employ their own tally clerks.
Source of Information: J Barrett
Africa Marine Services (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tel: +44 20 7749 7222