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NorthStandard: Increased risk of significant customs fines for incorrect bunker declarations

Custom fines over EUR 1 million are being reported in Senegal regarding allegedly incorrect declarations of any property on the ship including any apparent bunker shortages.




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Global marine insurer NorthStandard on Tuesday (9 May) released an article on custom fines over EUR 1 million are being reported in, Senegal and the port of Dakar, in particular regarding allegedly incorrect declarations of any property on the ship (including any apparent bunker shortages), crew and cargo:

The situation has become more challenging as the grounds on which fines are levied have become increasingly diverse and the amount of the fines imposed are reaching high levels.

Ships calling at Dakar may be subjected to customs fines and/or detention for any alleged inaccuracies in documents and declarations.  Examples include the following:

  • Deficits in the cargo manifest (including goods to be discharged in Dakar, as well as any cargo in transit);
  • Errors in the bills of lading;
  • Incorrect list of ports of call;
  • Errors in the crew list;
  • Errors in the list of crew personal effects;
  • Incorrect inventory of the bonded store;
  • Failure to declare the correct amount of food supplies, paint, or chemicals on board;
  • Failure to have the required number of fire extinguishers on board;
  • Failure to declare the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and foam concentrate contained within the vessel’s fixed fire extinguishing systems;
  • Failure to declare the quantity of “used oil”, including fuel oil contained within piping, lube oil contained in the engine sump tank and pumps, hydraulic oil in pressure tanks for windlass and winches, etc.; and,
  • Failures in the bunker declaration form, such as incorrectly detailing quantities of lube oil, diesel oil and fuel oil or quantities contained in tanks (including sump tanks), drums, cans and sludge.

The customs authorities closely examine the ship’s documents and declarations and check these against the actual cargo and/or property on board the ship by taking their own soundings and carrying out their own inspections.  Strict penalties are imposed in accordance with the local Customs Code if any discrepancies are found. Even minor errors such as typos, incorrect use of capital letters and misplaced commas are attracting substantial fines.  Acting in good faith is not accepted as an excuse.

It is also common for the customs authorities to impose customs fines where there is any shortage or excess of bagged, liquid or bulk cargo discharged from the ship. These fines are calculated based on the quantity and/or number of bags or weight recorded by a surveyor appointed by the customs authorities.  However, the tallies of bagged cargoes are usually made ashore alongside the ship before the cargo is loaded onto trucks rather than in the cargo holds.

Fines can also be imposed by the immigration authorities for errors in the crew list, passenger list, ports of call list (previous and next ports), and stowaways list (if any). Even spelling errors have led to penalties being imposed in the past.  However, these fines are less common and are usually not substantial.

In the light of this increase in fines, the club’s local correspondents recommend that members and masters take the following precautions:

  • Before arriving in the port, members should consult local agents for the latest requirements;
  • Complete the customs declaration before arriving in the port;
  • Ensure that all the items listed above including personal belongings of crew, food, ship’s stores, fire extinguishers, CO2, bunkers, and paint are accurately described in the declaration;
  • Ensure that all crewmembers’ passports are valid, and the seamen’s books are correctly filled and updated;
  • Prepare a file containing all the relevant documents and ask the vessel’s agent to come on board to check same before the customs officers arrive;
  • The master and the ship’s agent should personally receive customs officers and should carry out the formalities on board in their presence;
  • Ensure that any modification to the manifest has been made correctly;
  • Do not sign any document from the customs authorities which you do not fully understand;
  • Avoid attempting to argue or negotiate with the customs officers as they may well interpret any such efforts as an attempt to corrupt state officials, which is a punishable offence;
  • In order to minimise any exposure to fines for cargo shortages, a draft survey or tally of bagged cargoes should be carried out with all parties invited to attend; and,
  • Contact the club and a P&I correspondent for assistance in case of need; this can aid in possibly having the fine reduced and provide notice to the club in the event security needs to be supplied to release the ship.

In the event that a fine is or is likely to be imposed, the member should contact the club and the local correspondent immediately.  The local correspondent can review the fine and attempt to negotiate a reduction.  If the fine is not agreed prior to the ship departing, a bank guarantee or ‘promissory letter’ from the local correspondents is usually required.  It is therefore important to engage the club and local correspondent as soon as possible following any incident.

The International Group is currently working with the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) on a resolution.


Photo credit: Shaah Shahidh on Unsplash
Published: 15 May, 2023

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Singapore: EPS orders ammonia, LNG dual-fuel vessels from China

EPS signed one contract for a series of ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers with CSSC Beihai Shipbuilding and another for a series of LNG dual-fuel oil tankers with CSSC Guangzhou Shipbuilding International.






Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) on Wednesday (28 February) said it signed two new contract orders in a signing ceremony in Shanghai, one for a series of ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers with CSSC Beihai Shipbuilding and another for a series of LNG dual-fuel oil tankers with CSSC Guangzhou Shipbuilding International. 

The contracts signed cover four 210,000 dwt ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers and two 111,000 dwt LNG dual-fuel LR2 oil tankers, expanding our fleet of green vessels on water. 

“These are pivotal for EPS, testament to our continued commitment towards the decarbonisation of shipping,” EPS said in a social media post.

Manifold Times recently reported EPS signing a contract for its first ever wind-assisted propulsion system, partnering with bound4blue to install three 22-metre eSAILs® onboard the Pacific Sentinel

The turnkey ‘suction sail’ technology, which drags air across an aerodynamic surface to generate exceptional propulsive efficiency, will be fitted later this year, helping the 183-metre, 50,000 DWT oil and chemical tanker reduce overall energy consumption by approximately 10%, depending on vessel routing.

Related: Singapore: EPS orders its first wind-assisted propulsion system for tanker


Photo credit: Eastern Pacific Shipping
Published: 1 March 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Malaysia: Port of Tanjung Pelepas completes first LNG bunkering operation

Landmark event involved the CMA CGM Monaco, a 14,024 TEUs containership operated by French shipping giant CMA CGM.






Port of Tanjung Pelepas Sdn Bhd (PTP), a joint venture between MMC Group and APM Terminals, on Wednesday (28 February) announced a significant milestone with the successful completion of its first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) bunkering operation. 

The landmark event involved the CMA CGM Monaco, a 14,024 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) capacity containership operated by French shipping giant, CMA CGM.

Tan Sri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh, Chairman of PTP in a statement remarked this latest milestone demonstrates PTP’s commitment to continuously enhance its competitive advantages in an increasingly competitive global market.

“The successful completion of our first LNG bunkering operation also underscores our unwavering commitment to sustainability and environmental leadership. We are proud to partner with Petronas Trading Corporation Sendirian Berhad (PETCO) and CMA CGM on this initiative and showcase PTP’s capabilities as a leading facilitator of clean and efficient maritime operations.”

“This milestone paves the way for further growth in LNG bunkering at PTP, contributing significantly to the decarbonisation of the maritime industry.”

Commenting on this achievement, Mark Hardiman, Chief Executive Officer of PTP stated this latest milestone further highlights PTP’s position as the largest transshipment hub terminal in Malaysia.

“In preparation for the LNG bunkering operation, PTP worked closely since March 2022 with PETCO and CMA CGM, as well as with various other related government agencies to organise table-top exercises (TTX) and workshops, before carrying out the deployment exercise.”

“The success of the bunkering operation is a result of the seamless collaboration and preparations involving rigorous safety procedures through in-depth operational and risk assessments, modelling, and validation. We thank PETCO, CMA CGM all other involved parties for their joint efforts in operationalising the bunkering capability and we welcome partners to work with us to accelerate maritime decarbonisation,” said Hardiman.

Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) is Malaysia’s largest transshipment hub with the capacity to handle 13 million TEUs annually. The port delivers reliable, efficient, and advanced services to major shipping lines and box operators, providing shippers in Malaysia and abroad with extensive connectivity to the global market. PTP is currently ranked 15th among the world top container ports.


Photo credit: Port of Tanjung Pelepas
Published: 1 March 2024

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Alternative Fuels

Wallenius Wilhelmsen to order four additional methanol DF PCTCs

Newbuilds will also be ammonia-ready and able to be converted as soon as ammonia becomes available in a safe and secure way.





Wallenius Wilhelmsen PCTC order

Roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen on Tuesday (27 February) declared options to build four additional next-generation Shaper Class pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) vessels.

The 9,300 CEU methanol dual fuel vessels can utilise alternative fuel sources, such as methanol, upon delivery. They will also be ammonia-ready and able to be converted as soon as ammonia becomes available in a safe and secure way.

“Together with our customers we are committed to further shaping our industry and accelerating towards net zero. These new vessels are a vital part of that journey,” says Xavier Leroi, EVP & COO Shipping Services.

This latest commitment brings the total number of Shaper Class vessels currently on order with Jinling Shipyard (Jiangsu) to eight. Wallenius Wilhelmsen also retains further options.

The first of the Shaper Class vessels already ordered are expected to be delivered in the second half of 2026. The four additional vessels under the declared options will be delivered between May and November 2027.


Photo credit: Wallenius Wilhelmsen
Published: 1 March 2024

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