BENIN: ARMED GUARD REQUIREMENTS
Published: 11 August 2020
Benin’s Navy has been providing armed guards to vessels calling in Cotonou since January 2020 as a compulsory free of charge service. However following the issue of a new interministerial decree “Concerning Means of Protection of Ships in the Territorial Waters of Benin” on 13 July 2020, the costs of this service are now to be paid for.
Although foreign armed guards on vessels calling at Cotonou were previously prohibited, the new decree also requires that:
- All ships calling at a Beninese port are required to have an Armed Protection Team (APT) on board;
- Otherwise the ship must receive a protection service provided by the Benin Navy at the entrance to Benin’s territorial waters, with the associated fees to be paid at the port of call;
- A request for permission to enter Benin’s territorial waters with an embarked APT must be made online using the appropriate form submitted to the Director of the port of call at least 72 hours before the ship arrives;
- To avoid the illegal entry of weapons into Benin, all weapons will be checked and placed under seal by the Beninese Armed Forces at the quayside.
Details of this update have been provided by Budd S.A., who have also listed the charges for the various services provided by Benin’s Navy on their website as of 5 August 2020, as well as a translation of the decree in English here.
Members are also directed to the Security hot topic area of the Knowledge area on Britannia’s website for further guidance on maritime security precautions. This includes a dedicated page focussing on Piracy matters, which includes links to useful industry guidance, such as:
- BMP 5: Best Management Practices to Deter Piracy and Enhance Maritime Safety in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea
- BMP West Africa: Best Management Practices to Deter Piracy and Enhance Maritime Safety of the Coast of West Africa including the Gulf of Guinea