Customs Authorities in Nikolaev Port imposing large fines for small declaration errors

We have been made aware of the following by our Ukrainian Correspondents, Dias.

"We have repeatedly reported to our Principals and their Assureds on the practice in Nikolaev sea port of imposing huge fines for failure to declare the ship’s stores and any goods on board. We understand this practice has been getting more frequent of late.

We have to remind all parties concerned that before entering this port, almost everything on board shall be inserted in the Customs declaration: medicines (drugs), cash (both that of the ship and the crew members’ personal savings), barrels/tins of paint or oil, as well as any other stores and various commodities on board.

The Nikolaev Customs officers do the sounding of the ship’s bunker tanks, i.e. actually perform a bunker survey of fuel and diesel oil and if they found any discrepancy between their findings and figures declared by the Chief Engineer the fine is inevitable. The sum of the fine is rather big - it is calculated as double cost of undeclared goods. Inaccurately declared bunker leads to particularly high fines.

Our statistics shows that every week on average one ship is getting fined by the Customs and we would like to urge the ships’ Masters to adhere closely to the ship’s agents’ recommendations/instructions and to declare almost everything on board the ships to comply with strict requirements of the Ukrainian Customs.   As a rule ship’s agents provide Master/Owners with Customs’ requirements in their pre-arrival notices but we presume that in many cases Assureds do not take adequate care and attention to such notices."

Owners should notify the ship’s command to ensure that they are aware of the importance of accurately completing the Customs declaration. If there is any doubt as to what to declare, advice can be sought from our Correspondents directly - http://www.lodestar-marine.com/correspondents/23