Rate this article:  

Table of contents

Gard Guidance Masters

2.16.2 FINES

In most jurisdictions, the vessel, the Master and his/her crew are all subject to fines if a shore official observes the slightest irregularity. Fines may range from insignificant to extraordinarily large amounts. It is not uncommon for fines to be considered part of a country’s national budget in some jurisdictions. Therefore, the Master and his/her crew must closely adhere to all international conventions, national laws and regulations to prevent any fines being imposed.

Fines may be imposed on the vessel, the Master, officers and/or crew for a wide range of violations including

  • contravention of Collision Prevention Regulations and national waterway regulations
  • contravention of traffic directives given from ashore
  • expiry of the vessel’s trading documents
  • irregularities in customs forms, manifests and crew lists
  • discrepancies in ship’s stores, medical stores and crew’s personal effects declarations
  • outdated medicines in the ship’s medicine stores
  • in some countries, out of date provisions on board
  • pollution of the marine environment, irrespective of pollutant
  • breach of MARPOL regulations
  • the presence of stowaways on board.

    Forms and lists to be presented to national authorities upon entering a port should be completed with the utmost care and attention, these include

  • crew list
  • customs declaration list
  • stores, food and provisions list
  • medicines list
  • manifests
  • oil record book.

    Some countries require a separate declaration for any medicines containing narcotics, strong, psychotropic or poisonous substances and also separate safe storage of the same.

    The slightest irregularity may lead national authorities to impose a fine or initiate criminal prosecutions. The P&I insurer does not cover any fine that results from any wilful act or omission of the Company, the Master or the crew, such as smuggling, carrying contraband or intentionally misleading entries in the vessel’s logbooks.

    Landing of material or equipment from the vessel, or luggage or spares without prior written declaration and permission from the competent customs authorities may, in some countries, lead to a fine being imposed on the Master and/or the vessel. The Master is advised to contact the ship’s agent before discharging any item.

    For further details please refer to Gard News 178, Declaration of medicines on board.

    For the imposition of fines on the vessel, the Master or the crew and how to respond to the same, please see section 3.7 Fines.