Abandoned Wrecks

No person may search for abandoned wreck or specific abandoned wreck unless licensed.   There are two types of persons that may be issued a license to search an abandoned wreck or to search for abandoned wreck:

  • A local searcher; or
  • A non-local searcher, who may be licensed with Customs, provided he / she nominated a registered agent located in South Africa as his / her representative.

The onus is on the person applying for a license to search an abandoned wreck or to search for abandoned wreck to establish whether such wreck had been abandoned or that the rights of another party will not be infringed before applying for a licence to search an abandoned wreck or for an abandoned wreck.   Anything removed from an abandoned wrecks, duties and taxes must be brought to account on a clearance declaration.

Top tip: You can refer to the SC-CF-55 – Clearance Declaration – External Policy for the declaration requirements.

How to apply to search an abandoned wreck or to search for abandoned wreck?

The applicant must forward a letter to the Commissioner’s Office: National Registration and Licensing requesting for a license to search for abandoned wrecks.  This letter must contain the following information:

  • Full name of the person or Company desiring the license;
  • The proposed search area;
  • Date of commencement with search operation;
  • Date the search operation will end;
  • Physical address of the premises where the applicant’s business will be conducted;
  • If the applicant is local or non-local, if non-local the details of the nominated registered agent in South Africa;
  • Details of the abandoned wreck to be search;
  • Whether the wreck is older than fifty (50) years; and
  • The location of the wreck is known, if unknown, the areas that will be searched.

Documents in support of application:

An application must, unless otherwise stated in the specific Annexure, be supported by the following documents to be submitted to the customs authority on request:

(a) A document confirming the banking details of the bank account referred to in box 6, which can be –

(i) A bank certified original bank statement or a legible bank certified copy of an original bank statement;
(ii) a bank certified auto bank statement; or
(iii) an original letter from the bank on an official bank letterhead;

(b) the original or a certified copy of—

(i) a municipal account or fixed line telephone account issued to the applicant to confirm the applicant’s physical address, if the applicant is located in the Republic; and
(ii) a telephone account issued to the applicant to confirm the applicant’s telephone contact details;

(c) if the applicant is a juristic entity, a certified copy of the founding document or any certificate issued in terms of the laws of the Republic or of another country certifying that the applicant is incorporated, registered or recognised in terms of the laws of the Republic or that other country;

(d) a certified copy of the identification document or passport proving identity and citizenship—

(i) if the applicant is an individual, of the applicant;
(ii) if the applicant is a juristic entity, of the directors, members, partners, trustees, administrator, chairperson, manager, as the case may be, of the applicant; and
(iii) the authorised officer of the applicant, if not already provided under (ii);

(e) a certified copy of the court order in the case of the applicant being an emancipated minor;

(f) if the applicant applies for registration as an agent for a non-local licensee or registered person, a certified copy of the agency contract between the applicant and the non-local licensee or registered person;

(g) a certified copy of the document authorising a person to act as authorised officer on behalf of the applicant;

(h) if applicable, documents evidencing that the applicant has in place—

(i) an information security policy and security procedures or mechanisms to protect the applicant’s electronic systems from
unauthorised access; and
(ii) procedures and back-up capabilities to protect it against the loss of information; and

(i) any other document as the Commissioner may require for purposes of the application or for purposes of an update of information already submitted. 

Top tip: You can also refer to Schedule No 8.

Where to submit the application forms?

  • DA 185 – Application Forms

These application forms, the relevant annexes and the supporting documents listed in the application forms must be submitted to the nearest Customs office for processing (See ECS-LER-03 – Legal Entity – External Standard). The applicant or the applicant representative (Public Officer) as per the application form must also provide his / her ID book, proof of address and contact details to the Branch Front End agent.

  • For enquiries for Registration and Licensing applications:


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