1006 - 11/14 - Precautions to be Taken When Visiting Colombian Ports - Colombia

Colombia continues to be a difficult area to trade to for Club Members especially with drugs related issues.

The following are some general guidelines provided by the Club's correspondent which should be considered whilst the vessel is in port, either alongside or at anchorage.


• It is mandatory for the vessel, under the ISPS code, to have on board a comprehensive security plan which can be presented to the port authorities.

• The entire crew should be warned of the risks of carrying and trafficking drugs. These warning signs must be clearly displayed at the access points to the vessel and within the accommodation areas and must be shown to the authorities when necessary.

• Crew going ashore must be warned that if they choose to have contact with local people they should be very careful to ensure that the persons they are meeting are not connected with illegal activities. Clearly, if drugs are found on board and crew members have been meeting with people known to have connections with drug traffickers, it is very likely that the authorities will allege crew involvement.

• The crew has to keep a security log at the access points to the vessel. The watchman has to ask everybody to show their IDs, and keep a record of all people embarking and disembarking the ship, including crewmembers. Unauthorised people should not be allowed on board.

• Regular security checks and shipboard inspections should be carried out by the crew and approved security guards throughout the vessel's stay at the port.

• Access of anyone without a specific duty on board should not be allowed.

• Restricted areas on board such as bridge, engine room and steering room should be well guarded.

• All doors of store rooms, cabins and accommodation areas in which no work is to be carried while in port should be locked.

• Areas such as the hawse pipe on the forecastle deck and the spurling pipe leading to the chain locker should be properly secured

• Permanent watch on all places where stevedores/repair technicians/suppliers of goods/ equipment etc., are working.

• Areas such as the fore castle, poop deck, main decks, boat decks etc. , should be well lit during night time.

• A good look out should be maintained in order to detect the presence of small boats, unauthorized divers, or other attempts by unauthorized persons to board the vessel.

• Anti-narcotics team should be requested to perform and inspection, including an underwater check before departure,

• In the event of drugs being found on board, the crew has to fully cooperate with the authorities to conduct an investigation.

• The crew should be aware that the even if a small quantity of illegal drugs is found on board, it will lead to substantial delay to the ship, large fines and the possible confiscation of the vessel.

• MOST IMPORTANT: In case of any problems the Master should immediately seek assistance from the local Club's correspondents.


Source of information

Pandi Colombia SA




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