Consequences of discovery of drug medicines on board the ships by Customs authorities at Russian Ports
Nowadays the actions of the Customs in Russian ports, particularly in Novorossiysk and Tuapse ports, in relation to the regime of the customs declaration and keeping of medicaments containing drugs on board has become rather severe.
the Customs formalities the Masters shall present the Drug List to the Customs
officers. The corresponding remark relating to the presence of medical drugs on
board is also to be inserted into the General Declaration.
it is necessary to note that we have faced situations when presenting the Drug
List to the Customs officers on arrival, but at the same time the Master signed
the General Declaration containing the statement - “No Drugs”. All the
above, at first glance, insignificant contraventions usually result in the
penalty imposed to the Master.
second and most important problem is that while ships’ staying alongside under
handling operations the Customs officers come on board the ship in order to
check the regime of declaration and keeping the medical drugs on board the
ships. The Master’s safe with narcotic medicines and the medical locker with
other medicines are examined by the Customs officers in the presence of the
Master or the person in charge. The Customs officers perform accurate
examination of all the medicines both in ship’s medical locker and in the
Master’s safe in order to determine whether all the substances subject to drug
control have been declared by the ship on her arrival and are kept in the
Master’s safe. The above mentioned procedure is performed by the Customs
officers on the ground of Order No.580 of the State Customs Committee and
Russian Federation Drugs Law 1998.
often the Customs officers manage to find undeclared medicines which
belong to different kinds of narcotic containing medicaments. As soon as
undeclared drugs are found the Customs Authorities start the action against the
Master in respect of smuggling the drugs. As a rule, the Customs Authorities
detain the Master and in-charge persons (Chief Mate and/or Second Mate) at
Novorossiysk until the customs investigation is completed. Usually such
detention is executed when one day is left before the ship’s departure from
accordance with the Customs Law the official customs investigation lasts for 15
days, after which the Transport Prosecutor judges whether a particular case is
to be considered criminal and determines the kind of punishment for application.
speaking, after completion of the customs investigation the question resolves
itself into penalty imposed to the Master personally, as the most of the cases
are not criminal. The amount of such penalty does not exceed USD50 what is
incomparable with losses incurred by Shipowners connected with the ship’s
delay, changing and repatriation of crewmembers.
the above circumstances we consider it very important for the shipowner to give
proper instructions to the Masters before vessels’ arrival at Russian ports:
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