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Ship registration enables  a ship owner (including a foreign vessel) to assume Cameroonian nationality  and fly Cameroon flag whereas arrest of a ship is to detain an offending vessel while within a particular jurisdiction so as to impose the vessel owner to guarantee security for claims . Ship registration and arrest  is regulated by the The CEMAC Merchant Shipping Community Code of 3rd august 2001 as amended on 22nd August 2012. Ship owners are more than anxious to ascertain the recognized classification society in Cameroon so as to determine whether to commence ship registration.

Classification Society in Cameroon

The Cameroon flag authorizes five classification societies to carry out vessel survey on their behalf . Shipping companies are expected to choose any of the classification society of their choice.
1. Lloyd Register
2. American Bureau pf Shipping (ABS)
3. Bureau Veritas (BV)
4. Integrated Register Survey (IRS)
5. Deloitte

Ship Registration Procedure

To register a ship in Cameroon,the shipping company is required to submit to the Ministry of transport the following documents for assessment :-
1.Certificate of nationality of the vessel registration
2.Tonnage certificate
3.certificate of matriculation
4.All documents that describes the ( Type of vessel , construction year , dimension of the vessel , holding capacity , accommodation , freezing capacity , aux engine and  main engine.
This documents can be submitted through a lawful legal attorney representing the shipping company in Cameroon and upon satisfaction , registration will be approved. A certificate of seaworthiness will be issued thereafter for the vessel to sail into Cameroon waters after an intense inspection of  by Cameroon engineer.

Arrest of Ship in Cameroon

Claims which can give rise to arrest of ship include ;losses or damages suffered or in relation to goods and luggage’s ,death or injuries arising onshore or offshore ,damages caused by the ship on the environment , breach of either goods , passenger or chartering contract , repairs of ship , agency fee or brokerage commission and every clash arising from contract of sale of a ship.

A claimant who has a maritime claim may initiate arrest of ship proceedings either when it is within or expected to be within jurisdiction.In applying to the court for an arrest warrant , the claimant through his attorney must file ;

  • writ of summons
  • statement of claim
  • Motion ex -parte disclosing a strong case for the arrest of the ship
  • Affidavit of urgency
  • An undertaking as to damages in favour of the defendant

The applicant is expected to execute the warrant of arrest and this restrain the ship from leaving the port. The arrested ship can however be granted bail provided the arrested vessel can deposit the amount claimed as security pending judgement. Only a court of law can order the release of an arrested vessel. Arrest of ship procedure is however strict reason why we advise clients to brief a maritime attorney.

Repairs / Dry Docking in Cameroon Ports

Apart of ship registration , vessels owners intending to anchor at a Cameroon port are concern with repairs /dry docking. Dry docking is necessary either as a result of periodic planned maintenance or emergency repairs. The Cameroon ports have confirmed serving yard ares for dry docking.However, the shipping company is expected to send drawings of what has be repaired to ensure adequate quotation.

In conclusion in as much as our laws encourage ship registration in Cameroon ,shipping companies are advised to choose a classification society of their choice. Arrest of ship is also guaranteed especially to secure maritime claims.

Article by Barr. Mafany Victor Ngando

Kinsmen Advocates

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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