Senegal: Hefty penalty for a slight oversight on customs declaration
Member should have been aware of the hefty fine could be imposed for calling in Dakar, in case the ships’ declarations of manifests, ship stores and bunkers do not fulfil Senegalese Custom Code. Having said that, it must be reminded that the timing for filing the relevant declarations and the accuracy of the information would also be crucial. If the relevant declaration has not be furnished upon the first request and no correction or subsequent submission would be accepted for the Custom. Any failure in complying with the requirement would be considered as infringement and hefty fine would be imposed.
In one of our recent cases, the master has submitted the declarations nine (9) days before the vessel’s arrival. The local agent replied that they would review the information and revert. The master did not receive any feedback nor chase for the confirmation or comment from the local agent. On arrival at Dakar, the Custom Officer attended onboard the vessel and requested for a copy of in-transit cargo manifest which was immediate submitted to the officer before his disembarkation. The vessel has been fines for undeclared transit cargo manifest, misdeclaration on quantity cargo manifest for Dakar and mis-declared quantity of fuel oil. The total fine imposed was over EUR 3 million dollars.
The Custom authority considered that the submission of in-transit cargo manifest during their attendance onboard was not “furnishing of document on their first request” which was an infringement of local Custom Rules. Regardless whether it was a genuine mistake or not, hefty fine would be imposed. It was said that the cargo manifest has to be submitted together with the Custom declaration made by the local agent before the vessel’s arrival. The Customs also do not accept any subsequent sounding for determining the quantity of bunker onboard after the Custom Officer’s attendance. Hence, the declaration of bunker have to be exact and accurate. The master should closely liaise with the local agent before the vessel’s arrival.
Any infringements of the Custom Rules was considered as strict offence and fine would be imposed regardless whether the member and the master are innocent. Through negotiations with the Customs, the quantum of fine was eventually reduced. However, it was still a very substantial amount of money in relation to the relatively minor mistakes committed. A promissory letter have to be issued confirming payment of the fine would be arranged and the vessel’s schedule has been delayed.
Please also refers to our other circulars regarding the Custom Fine at Dakar:
Customs fines at the port of Dakar
Senegal: Dakar custom fines
We would also highly recommend our members to subscribe to our TELP, so that alerts and/or advice can be received days before the vessel’s arrival enabling the crew to include and discuss it in their pre-arrival planning.
The Swedish Club publishes member alerts as a service to members. While the information is believed correct, the Club cannot assume responsibility for completeness or accuracy.