Members should ensure that full, accurate and timely disclosure of all weapons and ammunition on board entered vessels are made to the relevant authorities.
The Club recently received notice of a new claim regarding a possible Customs violation in India for misdeclared ammunition belonging to armed security guards on board.
The Member hired two armed security officers from a Security Company based in the United Kingdom for transit in the Gulf of Aden. The security personnel provided the Master with their weapon and ammunition counts, which he in turn filed with Indian Customs in a timely fashion. In addition, the Member complied with all requirements of the vessel’s Flag State, as well.
Unfortunately, the security officers provided the Master with an inaccurate ammunition count, which was passed along to Indian Customs authorities. The Indian authorities became aware of the discrepancy and detained the vessel until their investigation was completed. The Member fully cooperated with the investigation and it quickly became clear that the misdeclaration was unintentional. The Indian authorities levied an Administrative fine in the amount of $25,000, which the Member will hopefully recover from their security contractor.
This incident highlights a possible new area of exposure for our Members. Members are encouraged to take all reasonable and appropriate steps to ensure that the declarations they make to authorities are 100% accurate.
Source of Information:
Thomas Miller (Americas) Inc