Published: 20 August 2020

Benin’s Navy has been providing armed guards to ships calling at 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 must now be paid by the shipowner.

Foreign armed guards on vessels calling at Cotonou were prohibited in the past, but the new decree requires that:

  • All ships calling at a Beninese port must 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 section 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, including: