Ship's store and spares
Should a left-behind crew member or deserter spontaneously present himself to the authorities, or be Store Lists in triplicate should be ready for presentation on arrival, and accuracy is required in their preparation. Special forms are used, one each for deck, engine and cabin stores, and another for the crew’s personal effects however, nowadays, computerized forms are also accepted. Items not shown on the printed list must be added in as necessary. Particular care must be taken to declare all weights, sizes, and measures in the metric system: kilos, meters or liters and not pounds, feet or quarts. Cigarettes must be declared as units, not by packets, cartons or boxes, e.g. 600.000 cigarettes, not 3000 cartons, as also by length (king size, medium or short). Similarly, spirits must be declared as so many bottles, not cases, and indicate the cubic capacity of the various sizes of bottles, while with jams, jellies, etc., the total quantity of each, in kilos, should be declared, not so many tins or packages.
Care must be taken between departments to avoid any double declaration of such items as binoculars, typewriters, etc., either in cabin and deck or engine, or as personal effects of the crew. At present the basic list requires the following to be declared:
Bitters, Brandy, Champagne, Gin, Fruit Juice, Assorted Liqueurs, Rum, Cider, Table Wines, Strong Wines (sherry, port, etc.), Sparkling Wines, Vermouth, Whisky and other alcoholic beverages. If ‘spirits’ are declared in one total, Whisky must be shown separately.
Tobacco, cut and plug, Cigars, Cigarettes, Alcohol, Spirits of wine, Jams, Jellies, Marmalade, Caviar, Pickles, Paint, in paste, liquid and powder, Red lead, Varnishes, Playing cards (new), electronics such as computers (new and used), calculating Machines (new and used), Cameras, TV sets, Video sets etc., Video Cassettes, Wireless Sets, Micrometers, Binoculars, Perfumes, Clinical Thermometers, Alkaloids, such as Morphine, Cocaine, etc., Preserved Fruits, plus any items on board which might be considered in excess of normal requirements.
Aluminum Paint, Paints in paste and liquid, Enamels, Varnishes, Red Lead, White Lead, Paint in powder, Coils Manila Rope (new), Steel Cable (new), Nylon Rope (new), Separation Cloths. Oil (engine), Oil (cylinder), Packing, Binoculars, Manometers, Typewriters (new or used), Micrometers, Ammunition, Fire-arms, Explosives, etc., such as Deck flares, Rockets, Rocket sticks, Friction tubes, Blue lights, Lifebuoy lights, Cartridges, Carbines, Guns, Revolvers, Rifles, Gunpowder, other portable firearms and explosives plus, any stores considered to be in excess of normal requirements and not included above.
In particular the crew must declare the following: Radios, Computers, Sextants, CD players, Binoculars, Cameras, Spirits, Tobacco, Cigarettes, any new clothes, musical instruments, etc.
Regulations allow a consumption of not more than two liters of alcoholic spirits per crew member per week, or three packets of 20 cigarettes per day whilst in an Argentine port, and incoming and outgoing declarations and stocks are checked accordingly. A Court decision (3.2.83) ruled the Customs had the right to demand to be shown the empty bottles of alcoholic beverages (in this case whisky), as proof to justify the consumption by crew on board whilst in port. Omissions to cross out words in a printed list which would denote a quantity in units, or vice versa, are liable to be spotted, and the plea of a regrettable mistake with no dishonest intention is not accepted by the Custom House. On numerous occasions appeals for leniency in fines have been rejected on the grounds that the authorities only accept statements and facts and not intentions.
Though it may appear redundant it must be noted that Customs is putting particular emphasis in the declaration of all sorts of narcotics, medicines, spare parts, chemicals incl. paint and bunkers ROB. Masters are warned to carefully detail all foregoing items in the corresponding store lists, even if tiresome and time consuming, to avoid penalties and possible confiscation.
Procedure at first port of call
a) The vessel will be boarded by the Custom House officials on arrival and, before the necessary search, a note must be made with the store list.
b) Application for permission to embark stores purchased locally must be made out with an extra copy, and, once it has been verified that the stores have been placed on board, copy of the embarkation permit must be attached to the store list.
c) If any merchandise declared as stores is disembarked as cargo, and is thereby added to the cargo manifest, the corresponding annotation has to be made in the store lists.
d) On sailing to another Argentine port, the Master will be handed the duplicate copy of the store list with all the corresponding annotations, such as errors found by searchers at the first port, the embarkation of store purchased locally and any landing of ship’s stores. This duplicate copy must be handed to the Customs House official at the second port, who will return it on sailing, and successively at any other ports of call. When any stores are landed or embarked at the second and successive ports, the corresponding annotation will be made in the store list in the same manner as the first. The duplicate store list will be retained in the Customs House at the last port of call prior to proceeding overseas.
e) Crew personal effects will be accepted as such when, by their nature and quantity, there is no cause to give rise to the supposition that they are for trading purposes. When unmanifested goods are found on board in possession of members of the crew or in their quarters, such goods will be confiscated and fines, equal to the value of the goods, imposed upon the Master. The same penalties will be imposed when stores or goods are declared by members of the crew, and are not found on board in their possession when asked for.
f) When a vessel carrying fifty or more passengers has a quantity of stores which will not be required while in Argentine waters, the Master, on arrival, may request the authorities to seal the entrances to the store room, and, in such cases a note will be made at the foot of the store list of the number of store-rooms, and the number of seals affixed to the various apertures in these store-rooms. Care must be taken that the seals are not damaged in any way during the time the vessel remains in port. The sealing of the store-rooms avoids the necessity of declaring the contents in the store list. Care should be taken to ensure that the sealed compartments contain exclusively store list articles. Goods which cannot rightly be classed as belonging to stores should not be placed in the compartment for sealing. The shop on board, operated or not by a concessionaire, may also be sealed, always provided that it is expressly stated that the contents consist of articles belonging to the shop. The same applies to the compartment used for the barber’s appurtenances.
g) Before filing storelist to authorities Masters should, when making out store lists, cross out all articles in the printed list when there are none on board. Customs rulings resolution of 06/08/48, also, establish that:
a) Those articles constituting the tackle and navigating requirements of a vessel and its life-boats, as well as those articles fixed and unfixed which are necessary for the service, movement, navigation, loading, discharging, or repair of items in use, whether they be in store-rooms or not, should not be declared in the store list.
b) Those effects of every kind destined to fulfil the necessities referred to above but which exceed the quantities reasonably required, should be declared immediately upon arrival of the vessel.
c) All merchandise carried by passenger vessels for sale to the passengers during the voyage should be placed in appropriate compartments which, when the vessel takes entrance, should be closed and sealed, except when it is elected to enter the items separately in the store list.
d) All merchandise which is hidden away, stored in unusual places, or in possession of the crew, will be considered as constituting an act of fraud, and subject to the penalties fixed by the regulations in force.
Regulations regarding the visit of searchers
Groups of men from a specially trained Searchers’ Brigade under an Inspector (Rummagers), visit vessels chosen at random from the daily arrivals and Masters and Agents are required to assist them to perform their tasks. On boarding the Inspector will sign the store list, noting the date and time of the search and, when this is concluded, all pertinent remarks will be noted on that list, together with copies of any reports made out by the searchers. These reports must be countersigned by the Master, First Mate, or Agent, and by any crew member involved in contraband. The presence of an interpreter may be insisted upon, if required. One copy of each report remains on board. During the search of crew’s quarters, the respective crew member must be present during the whole time. Any item considered as contraband will be confiscated and sent to the Customs warehouse designated for such purpose.
Visit of searchers at outports
Vessels, which after operating at Buenos Aires go to another port to complete discharge or loading, may be searched again and the stores manifested again checked. Masters are therefore strongly recommended to see that the newly purchased stores, tally with the corresponding permits, and with the amount ordered and received on board. Stores consumed on board during vessel’s stay in port should also be compatible with the amounts declared.
Search on departure
Customs Authorities are also empowered to effect a new search when a vessel is due to sail abroad, so as to verify if the amount of stores found on board tallies with that declared on entrance, a reasonable amount being allowed for consumption during the vessel’s stay in port.
Entertainment on board
Customs rulings, authorize the deduction from ships’ stores of articles used during receptions offered on board, without payment of duties. The full stock must be declared, as usual, and Customs personnel may control the consumption at such receptions on the maximum basis of two bottles (3/4 liter) of whisky, aquavit, gin or similar for every three persons present; one liter bottle of liqueurs or cognac for every ten persons; one liter bottle of aperitifs for every six persons; two liter bottles of champagne for every five persons; one liter bottle of wine for every two persons; one liter bottle of beer for each person; one packet of 20 cigarettes per person and one cigar per person. Any consumption in excess of this must pay the corresponding taxes and duties.
Ships’ spare parts, accessories and stores
No Customs duties are charged on spares, accessories and other articles (stores) imported (sent from abroad) necessary for the repair, maintenance and upkeep of foreign vessels in Argentine ports, provided they arrive properly manifested for the vessel concerned and consigned to the “master of the vessel .......(name) c/o the Ship-agent involved The signed, original Commercial invoice, the B/L and/or the AWB should state clearly: “SHIP’S SPARES IN TRANSIT WITHOUT COMMERCIAL VALUE” Consolidated shipments should be avoided if a quick clearance and conveyance on board is required. Spares brought in as ‘accompanied baggage’ are liable to confiscation with a fine for smuggling. The Customs, however, may take into consideration the exceptional circumstances of each case, and permit delivery on payment of duties.
The transfer of spares and stores from one vessel to another, of the same Owner and flag, is permitted, provided these were duly declared in the store list of the first vessel.
Stores and Provisions bought locally
Orders for foodstuffs for national flag vessels are based on the round voyage requirements, and for foreign ships, on the supply to reach final destination, but if the export of any article is limited or prohibited, the allowance is to reach the first port of call only. The Customs issue their own list of the daily allowance per person.
The stores permit, signed by the shipchandler for the quantities, and by the Agent for details of the ship, crew, passengers and length of the voyage, is considered a sworn declaration making both jointly responsible under Customs regulations.
Local Purchases by members of the crew
Members of the crew are permitted to make all nature of purchases and no control is exercised on what they take on board provided limited amounts are involved. It is, however, recommended that they should retain the bill of sale for these purchases, in case of a surprise visit by Customs searchers before the vessel leaves port.
Responsibility of agents and shipchandlers
The Agents of the vessel are responsible for omissions, transgressions or any other error committed by shipchandlers who embark stores ordered by the Master. The selection of a ship-chandler should therefore be made with care.
Interchange of films, records, cassettes and literature
Under the Customs Code (Law 22.415, art. 411) such material is classed as stores and can be transferred only between vessels under the same ownership and flag. To permit transfer these items must figure on the store list presented to the authorities on arrival and must be deducted / added to store lists when transferred. Transference can only be arranged by Agents.