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Cotonou (Benin) anti piracy measures


Club correspondents TCI Africa, Cotonou have advised the Club that new measures have been taken by the Port of Cotonou to help protect against acts of Piracy for vessels both in the port of Cotonou and at anchorage in the waters of Benin.

This is a free translation of Circular 141 issued by the Port of Cotonou on 21 January 2020.

Circular strengthening the measures to protect ships calling at the Port of Cotonou against acts of Piracy

The General Director of the Port Autonome of Cotonou, Port Authority, informs maritime agents, shipping agents,
stevedores and shipowners that the following measures are taken to strengthen the protection of ships calling at the
port of Cotonou against acts of piracy:

  1. Any vessel having to stay at anchorage and calling at the port of Cotonou must have a maritime agent
  2. The maritime agent must announce the call of any vessel at least 48 hours prior to her arrival at the anchorage
  3. A vessel whose maritime agent has not previously completed the berthing formalities before her arrival at the
    anchorage will not be authorized to drop anchor, except in cases of force majeure and express authorization of the
    Harbour Master.
  4. At least two (02) hours before arriving at the approach buoy, any ship arriving at the port of Cotonou must call the
    control tower at the Harbour Master's office in order to communicate information regarding her call, in particular the
    name of her maritime agent and the reason for her call (commercial operations, etc.)
  5. In the case where the berth is occupied:
    1. The Harbour Master will, depending on availability, allocate a lay-by berth for a vessel. The vessel must berth at this berth, otherwise it will not be authorized to anchor at the anchorage.
    2. If a lay-by berth is not available, the Naval Forces Semaphore (Cotonou Signal Station) will assign an anchorage position to the ship and an armed guard will board the ship prior her anchorage.
  6. The boarding of the armed Guard is compulsory and is free of charge for any ship staying at the anchorage at the port of Cotonou.
  7. In the event that the Master refuses the boarding of the armed guard the vessel will not be authorized to anchor;
    he will give his information to the control tower and will return at sea outside Benin Territorial Waters.
  8. Only vessels having operations to be carried out at the Port of Cotonou are authorized to anchor at Cotonou anchorage and to embark an armed guard from the Beninese Naval Forces.
  9. Any vessel having completed her commercial operations and which has left port must sail for her next destination except in cases of force majeure and the express authorization of the Harbour Master.
  10. The payment of all taxes resulting from the call of any ship is compulsory as per the Operating and Police Regulations and the other rules of the Port of Cotonou Authority

I request maritime agents, ship’s agents, shipowners and stevedores to strictly comply with this Circular.

Cotonou, 21st January 2020
General Director
Signed and stamped
Albert Joris THYS

Our thanks to correspondents TCI Africa Cotonou for providing this information.

Members may recall that BMP5 “Best Management Practices to deter piracy” can be accessed via the Steamship website on this link:

Steamship’s award winning film “Piracy – The Menace at Sea” can be viewed on the Steamship website at this link:

Versions with subtitles in Chinese, Russian and Tagalog are also available on the same link.