News 03 Apr, 2014

Senegal - Customs Fines in Dakar - Update

In April 2012 the Club advised Members of the possibility of customs fines being imposed in Dakar due to discrepancies between items listed in the customs declaration submitted by the Master, and the actual quantity of goods onboard.

Members continue to encounter instances where fines have been imposed by the Senegalese customs authorities for breaches of the Senegalese Customs Code.

Previously, vessels have been fined for not declaring the lubricating oil in the main engine and generator sumps. In one case a vessel was fined USD 105,000 for such an omission. However, it appears that the Senegalese customs authorities are now targeting other areas in search of discrepancies as a number of recent cases involving entered vessels have shown:

  • After berthing, the attending customs officers ordered the fuel oil tanks to be sounded and found that the total quantity of IFO on board exceeded the vessels declaration by 14 metric tonnes. The vessel was fined USD 11,500.
  • Customs officers discovered that a vessel had not declared dangerous goods in transit and imposed a fine of USD 107,000.
  • Customs officers checked the actual quantity of lubricating oil on board against the declared figure and found that the ship had underestimated the total amount by 2,900 litres. The vessel was fined over USD 6,000.
  • A fine of USD 12,500 was imposed by customs following the discovery of 5,100 litres of undeclared sludge.

It should be noted the foregoing fines were agreed after negotiation with the customs authorities. In some cases the initial demands were considerably higher.

Members with vessels proceeding to Dakar are advised to remind the Master to complete the customs declaration fully and accurately as any errors, omissions and/or discrepancies are likely to result in substantial fines.

In order to minimise this possibility, Masters are advised to:

  • Contact the local agent well in advance of arrival to ascertain the customs regulations in force and the documentation required.
  • Verify that all consumables on board including bunkers, lube oil, sludge, provisions, stores, paint, stationery and crew personal effects are listed accurately on the applicable manifests and declarations. Lubricating oil in engine sumps should also be recorded accurately.
  • Ensure that all required customs documentation is prepared well in advance of berthing.
  • Require the ship’s agent to be in attendance when customs officers board the vessel.
  • If necessary keep the accommodation ladder or gangway raised until the agent has boarded and the paperwork is ready.
  • Instruct crewmembers not to barter with anyone whilst at anchor or alongside. In particular, small fishing boats may approach anchored vessels and attempt to bargain with the crew. If an exchange of goods takes place, the local tradesmen may inform the customs authorities thereafter, possibly resulting in a fine.

In the event of any difficulties, the Master should contact the local P&I Correspondent for assistance at the earliest opportunity.

Members requiring further advice should contact the Loss Prevention department.