The Masters of vessels in Senegal must be well informed in relation to the systematic customs fines and he or she should liaise with the port agent as necessary, in order to prevent the imposition of any excessive fines.
This is according to the Standard P&I Club which advised that customs fines in Senegal have recently become dominant, with the Senegalese customs authorities carrying out thorough investigations onboard.
There are various types of fines that could be levied against a ship in Senegal:
a. For an alleged incorrect declaration onboard
A circular by the Club’s local correspondents contains a helpful list of items which is usually demanded by the Senegalese customs authorities and should be declared by the vessel accordingly.
The authorities will thoroughly investigate the vessel and impose fines in case they find discrepancies on the ship’s declarations for stores, paints, bunkers, lube oils etc., compared with the actual quantities on board.
As such, operators calling at Senegalese ports are advised to take the following precautions:
- Ensure the Master has prepared the customs declaration well in advance of berthing.
- If the Master is unable to fully complete all declarations prior to berthing, the ship should not berth until everything is in order.
- Make sure that all items on board, including: bunkers, food, paint, stationary and crew personal effects have been accurately declared and inserted into the customs declaration.
- Ensure any modification to the manifest document is properly completed and declared.
- Instruct the Master to keep all customs papers in a separate file, to be checked by the ship’s agent before presenting these documents to the customs authorities.
- Give clear instructions to the Master to personally welcome the customs officers on board, together with the ship’s agents (who should be on board already), and assist them carrying out the formality checks.
- Clearly instruct the Master to sign no document submitted by the customs authorities unless he fully understand its contents.
b. For excess and/or shortage of cargo
As informed, the customs authorities are imposing fines on any excess or shortage of bagged or bulk cereals and other bulk cargo. Customs authorities will be represented by a local surveyor company and will monitor the discharge operations of the vessels.
The circular mentions that the amount of the fine can be very significant, with a fine of over €300,000 in one case. We advise members to carry out a precautionary tally survey in order to ensure the discharged cargo quantity and prevent or mitigate any custom fines against the ship.
Fines by the immigration authorities
Dakar’s immigration authorities have also imposed fines due to inaccuracies found in seafarers’ passports and books. These fines are occasional and usually do not exceed XOF 200,000 (approx. EUR 300).
Members are advised to be extra vigilant and make sure that the crew’s passports are valid and the seamen’s books are correctly filled and updated.