News: An update on customs fines and taxes in Dakar, Senegal
News & Insights 18 January 2021
This update discusses the various types of fines that could be levied against a ship.
Further to our previous notifications in May 2015 and December 2017 (linked in the blue box), the club wishes to provide a revised update in relation to the customs fines being imposed in Dakar, Senegal.
We understand that the customs fines have recently become systematic and dominant as the Senegalese customs authorities are carrying out thorough investigations on board. Members should make sure that the Master of the vessel is well informed in relation to the existing situation and that he liaises with the port agent as necessary, in order to prevent the imposition of any excessive fines.
This update discusses the various types of fines that could be levied against a ship. The first two mentioned below are also dealt with in the attached circular provided by our local correspondents, along with some additional recommendations. We briefly summarise the key points below:
a. For an alleged incorrect declaration on board
The attached circular provided by our 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. Additional recommendations for the Master are included in the circular and the club’s updates published on May 2015 and December 2017.
b. For excess and/or shortage of cargo
As per the attached circular, 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.
UEMOA traffic rights tax
Traffic rights are imposed on international trading vessels that call Senegal and this has resulted in substantial costs to the shipowners. The Economic and Monetary Union of West African Countries (L’Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine - UEMOA) issued the attached regional directive concerning maritime traffic rights (on 01/01/2020). The tax is applied by the Maritime Authority of each state and the total amount to be paid will be based on the imported and exported cargo quantity. In addition, these taxes are compulsory and are to be paid by ship owners via their local agents.
Members are advised to liaise with the port agents and correspondents as necessary.
We thank our correspndents T.C.I for this update.