28-01-2017

Senegal – the importance of accurate customs declarations

Gard

Senegalese customs continue to pay particular attention to a vessel’s declarations of lubrication (lube) oil and failure to declare “used lube oil” may be considered an infringement of the country’s customs code.

The imposition of customs fines continues to be an issue at the port of Dakar, Senegal. In a recent case, a Gard Member’s vessel was fined EUR 100,000 for failure to properly declare a quantity of “used lube oil”. According to the attending customs officer, a difference was noted between the amount of lube oil stated in the official customs declaration and in an attached “Lubricants Declaration” stamped and signed by the Chief Engineer.

Members and clients have also previously been alerted to the risk of fines being imposed in Dakar should a vessel fail to properly and accurately declare its cargo, fuel, stores, provisions and other material on board, see our Gard Updates of 13 April 20122 November 2008 and February 2007. Reports at that time included incidents of fines being imposed for:

  • failure to have the bunker declaration form completed by the time the customs officers arrived in the Master’s cabin;
  • attaching “unofficial” documents to the customs declaration, even if their purpose was to clarify details stated in the official declaration;
  • differences between declared quantities and quantities measured and counted by custom officers’ during own inventory inspections; as well as
  • differences noted between the quantity of lube oil notified by the Master to customs and the detailed list by grade remitted by the Chief Engineer at customs’ request.

Masters of vessels calling at the port of Dakar must continue to be vigilant and pay close attention when filling in the customs declaration and stores list as any errors, omissions and/or discrepancies are likely to result in substantial fines. Even lube oil considered to be “in use”, e.g. in the engine sump tank, hydraulic system pressure tank for windlass and winches, stern tube, etc. should be declared in the stores list. However, as such measurements could depend on whether the equipment is in service or not, we recommend to state in the store list whether the measurement was carried out with the equipment in operation or stopped. The accuracy of all numbers is crucial.

As previously recommended by Gard, Masters should also contact the vessel’s local agent well in advance of arrival to ascertain the customs regulations in force in Senegal and the documentation required. In order to avoid misunderstandings, it is advisable that the agent verifies the formal documents before remittance to the customs officer and is present on board when the Master meets with the customs officers.

Source: Gard

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