Recent updates on dangerous goods regulations around the world will see owners and operators facing significant penalties for mis-declaration or non-declaration of dangerous goods in containers, and other forms of non-compliance with dangerous goods regulations.
Belgium - Hazmmat, the dangerous cargo department of the Belgian Shipping Inspection authority, is focusing on dangerous goods documentation such as dangerous goods declarations, container/vehicle packing certificates, and dangerous goods manifests. Incomplete or incorrect documentation will result in the container being detained. If the container has been loaded on board at the time of inspection then it will have to be discharged immediately.
The completeness and correctness of a dangerous cargo manifest can only be verified with the dangerous goods declarations. During ship operations the documents will have to be available at short notice regardless of the time of inspection.
Often, the booking agent is the last person to check the correctness of the required documents and it is his responsibility to verify that all documents are complete and correct. By doing so, the booker is liable to the consequences of a Hazmat inspection.
United States - The Club has verified, through the United States Coast Guard, the following amendments to the United States laws governing the transportation of dangerous goods:
Criminal penalties may be imposed for each knowing, reckless or wilful violation, including up to ten years in prison and fines of as much as $500,000 per violation. Individuals, that is, employees, are subject to imprisonment, whereas corporations remain subject to fines, probation, suspension and/or revocation of operating authority.
Civil penalties of as much as $100,000 may also be imposed for each violation, whether or not such violation is knowingly reckless.
Senegal - A meeting was recently held between the Club’s local correspondent and maritime authorities in Dakar following the recent increase in the number and size of fines imposed upon ships and their masters at the port of Dakar.
One recent incident involved a ship being detained and fined because the ship’s agent had failed to declare the dangerous goods on board within seventy-two hours of the ship’s arrival.
Although tough inspection regimes and penalties may result in the delay of ships and cargo, the Club welcomes initiatives by authorities that promote the safe carriage of dangerous goods as this is in the best interest of the safety of ships and their crews.
Source of information: Loss Prevention Department
Tel: +44 20 7204 2217