According to the American Club, the latest customs threat in Argentina concerns the misdeclaration of shipboard stores, which can lead to fines. In an alert to its members, the American Club said that customs authorities are becoming stricter, particularly regarding the declaration of lube oils, bunkers, chemicals, spare parts, grabs and other items in lists of stores carried onboard vessels, especially in ports such as San Nicolas.
Based on information from Pandi Liquidadores S.R.L, the club’s correspondent, ships have been required to declare the lube oil in the sump tank of the main engine, despite previous practice to the contrary. It appears that a number of ships have recently been boarded by customs agents asserting that the lube oil in the sump tank has not been declared, meaning a customs infringement.
In such cases, customs have insisted that the lube oil in question be discharged within 48 hours and placed in storage for account of the vessel. If discharge is not undertaken, owners may be requested to post a cash guarantee for up to twice its market value. Customs are reported to use a price from $7 to 10 per liter when the real market price is about $1.50 to 2 per liter.
The American Club said it urges members to declare the quantity of oil in the ship’s sump tanks, especially when their vessels call at San Nicolas. Moreover, masters are advised to take great care when declaring quantities to ensure that no under-declarations are made, or that declarations are not duplicated. There have been instances of customs agents finding discrepancies which, in reality, do not exist but are difficult to disprove after the owner has already been fined as a consequence.