Further to previous notifications in April 2012 and April 2014, the Club continues to regularly receive notifications of customs fines being imposed. Most recently:
- A Chief Engineer erroneously transposed two numbers when declaring fuel oil onboard
- Incorrect declaration of total quantity of firefighting foam onboard
- Non-declaration of CO2 within the fixed firefighting installation and used lubricating oils
In all instances the mistakes were quickly recognised and corrected declarations were submitted. In at least one case the revised declaration was submitted whilst the Customs Officer was still present. Local Customs law is strictly enforced however and does not allow for additional declarations or rectification - only the declaration given upon Custom’s first request is accepted, supported by a complete set of declaration documents and at that point the Customs declaration is considered as formally submitted. Any subsequent errors that are subsequently found (however minor) are then subject to a fine, which is often set at a very high level in the first instance.
In most cases such fines can be negotiated to a lower level by our local correspondents, but only if there are mitigating circumstances which can be explained to a senior Customs officials. Notably, a Club Letter of Undertaking is not accepted by the authorities and vessels may be delayed or detained during the investigation. To release the vessel from detention the quantum of the fine must be agreed and a promissory letter issued with prompt payments terms.
Members are therefore cautioned to thoroughly check their Customs declarations for accuracy prior to submission.
Members requiring further guidance should contact their usual claims team or the Loss Prevention department.