We would like to inform Members regarding reports that the customs authorities in Dakar have recently been concentrating on ships’ compliance with Title 3 of the Senegalese Customs Code dated 28th December 1987.
This code requires vessels to make complete and correct declaration of the cargo manifest and of all the products on board without exception. Customs authorities are paying particular attention to ships’ declarations of paints, stores (including opened drums), bunkers and all consumables used for the engine, e.g. lubricants and chemicals etc., comparing the declared amount to the actual quantities on board.
It has been reported that an increasing number of customs fines of various types are being imposed by the Senegalese Customs who appear to be applying the existing Customs Code with increased vigour, inflicting strict penalties. The customs team in charge of the formalities take a complete inventory and then check that the list of products remitted to them by the master is in accordance with their own findings. Almost all arriving vessels sustain large customs fines (on numerous occasions hundreds of thousands and sometimes over a million dollars) for wrong or mis-declaration of ships’ stores or engine room consumables.
Our correspondents recommend that masters take the following steps prior to arrival in Senegal:
1. Pay particular attention to Title 3 of the Senegalese Customs Code dated 28th December 1987, which orders them to make complete and correct declaration of the cargo manifest and of all the products on board without exception
2. Prepare Dakar customs declarations prior to berthing, having already requested in advance the written confirmation of the latest requirements in this respect from the local vessel agent
3. Personally receive the customs officers on board for formalities, in the company of the ship’s agent
4. Ensure that all consumables, including food, paint, stationery, crew personal effects etc. have been accurately declared
5. Place all the customs papers in a separate file to be checked by the ship’s agent prior to their presentation to the Customs boarding officer
6. Check that any modification to the manifest is properly completed and declared
7. Do NOT sign any document submitted by the customs authorities without fully understanding its contents.
If masters are unable to fully complete all the declarations in accordance with the latest customs rulings before the ship is safely alongside, the lowering of the gangway should be delayed until they are fully satisfied that all is in order.
We advise all Members who have vessels calling at Senegal to pay careful attention to the above recommendations.
Source of information: TCI AFRICA, Dakar, PNI correspondents.