Benin informed that all ships bound for a port in the country are required to have an Armed Protection Team (APT). Failing that, the vessel must receive a protection service by the Benin Public Forces at the entrance to Benin’s territorial waters. The associated fees will be paid at the port of call.
Any ship bound for a port in Benin with an armed protection team on board, will have to send through its ship agent, a request for permission to enter Benin’s territorial waters with its own armed onboard protection team.
The application for entry into Benin’s territorial waters is a form that must be completed online and sent to the Director of the port of call at least 72 hours before the vessel arrives.
Howver, authorization to enter Benin’s territorial waters with an armed protection team on-board, is not equivalent to authorization for weapons storage in Benin. The ship must leave Benin with all the weapons of its armed protection team on board.
In this aspect, any ship which is authorized to enter Benin’s territorial waters is subject to an arms verification. The APT’s weapons are then placed under seal. This operation is carried out at the quayside by a team from the Beninese Armed Forces under the authority of the Maritime Prefecture.
When the ship is about to sail, the Armed Forces team shall unseal all the onboard armed protection team’s weapons.
What is more, ships without an on-board armed protection team who intend to enter the port directly and not stay on the roads, are escorted from the reception zone to the pilot station and into their berths.
In addition, vessels with no on-board armed protection teams and which have to stay on the roads, will go directly to the berths which are assigned to them by the semaphore. Their team of Navy Fusiliers will board as soon as they are in berth.
The armed protection provided by the Armed Forces is as follows:
- As soon as the vessels drops anchor, if it has not stayed on the roads and has not received a direct escort, National Navy Fusiliers board to ensure its protection until it berths;
- Upon its departure, the vessel is escorted by the National Navy to ensure its protection until the vessel has reached cruising speed whether or not it stayed on the roads on arrival.
As for the cost of the services, this is provided by the Armed Forces are for payment by the shipowner. The cost will be charged by the port of call according to the following scale:
A monitoring and evaluation committee will then assess the effectiveness of the system and make improvements, if necessary.
Any sanctions could lead to prosecution and punishment under the Maritime Code and the Penal Code.