Togo - Fines & Delays for Exchanges/Smuggling

8 March 2024

Large fines as well as potential prison sentences are being imposed on vessels calling in Lome, Togo for alleged smuggling.

Members and Assureds calling at Togo, particularly Lome, should be aware that fines of EUR 60 million to 130 million and prison sentences of up to one year are being imposed for exchanges of items between the ship and the locals/fishermen.

Local correspondents Budd Group have reported three instances where items of low value and small quantity such as sludge, bottles of water, or scrap were exchanged for seafood or sim cards. Such exchanges resulted in detention of the vessels as well as customs fines for smuggling being imposed.

The basis for calculation of the fines by authorities is the value of the exchanged items added to the estimated values of all vessels involved, as well as customs duties of 28-49% imposed on both the values of the vessels and items exchanged. The correspondent reports that the customs authorities have refused to discuss the fines issued until a fine demand document is signed, leading to significant delays to vessels involved.

Further information on the customs fine in the circular issued by Budd Group can be accessed here, and for relevant articles of Togolese customs code in French click here.

Members and Assureds are strongly advised to take steps to ensure that crew are fully aware of this issue prior to calling at ports in Togo, particularly Lome, and to ensure that they refrain from engaging in any form of item exchange with locals to avoid such fines and delays.