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Old 12-07-2017, 00:12   #1
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Belgian customs at it again

Seems someone in Belgain customs has decided to make a name for himself.

They are now boarding and sampling boats from the UK and fining owners if there are traces of marked (red) fuel. The Uk Cruising Association has issued advice to avoid Belgian waters.
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Old 12-07-2017, 05:09   #2
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Re: Belgian customs at it again

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Originally Posted by Tomahawk View Post
Seems someone in Belgain customs has decided to make a name for himself.



They are now boarding and sampling boats from the UK and fining owners if there are traces of marked (red) fuel. The Uk Cruising Association has issued advice to avoid Belgian waters.


Is red fuel the same in the U.K. As in the US? Dyed for off highway use? As in no road taxes paid? On what basis are the Belgians issuing fines?
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Old 12-07-2017, 05:18   #3
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Re: Belgian customs at it again

Bureaucracy at it's finest.

It is highly improbable that the "lost" tax revenues will be equalled by the fines or the loss in economic stimulus when UK sailors stay home.
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Old 12-07-2017, 05:53   #4
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Re: Belgian customs at it again

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Is red fuel the same in the U.K. As in the US? Dyed for off highway use? As in no road taxes paid? On what basis are the Belgians issuing fines?
Different interpretation of EU rules by countries is the short answer.

The UK has for some time used red diesel for off road use only, farm tractors, building site equipment, cranes etc. This also included commercial and leisure vessels plus aircraft. The EU decided years ago that this couldn't go on and gave the UK some time to stop it and charge tax on fuel for propulsion particularly for yachts and aircraft. The UK kind of ignored it for a couple of decades as too difficult.

However, eventually the EU put its foot down insisting fuel for propulsion in yachts must be taxed heavily, so the UK came up with a fudge or compromise as civil servants are want to do. So on a tank full of red diesel the yachtie declares at the point of sale how much as a percentage he will use for propulsion and how much for heating and cooking which are not taxed or only lightly. UK Customs and Excise have agreed not to query a 60% propulsion and 40% heating purchase for a yacht. Higher use for heating might be open to a challenge by customs though.

So now and it has happened in the past, Belgium which has a tiny coast of 40 miles or so will fine anyone with even a minor trace of red dye because they believe that red dyed fuel should not be used as its not correctly taxed and not for leisure use. 3ppm has been quoted which gets you a E500 fine.

Once the local marina and harbour businesses feel the pinch words will be said, however, Belgium always has a hung parliament so no one party has sufficient majority to sort anything out.

Pete
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:20   #5
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Re: Belgian customs at it again

I understand that the pink tracer which is added to "tax-free" fuel stays in the tank of a boat even after many refills. I was concerned about this when i took my boat from UK last year, across Biscay, stopped in Spain (Portosin/Finisterre, Alcaidesa/Gib, Cartagena and Baleares. No one ever wanted to inspect my tanks so at least the Spanish take a reasonable attitude to it. I probably still have a few ppm traces in my tank now that i am in Adriatic.
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:48   #6
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Re: Belgian customs at it again

Looks like two world wars the Germans finally accomplished their take over of Europe.

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Old 12-07-2017, 10:15   #7
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Re: Belgian customs at it again

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Looks like two world wars the Germans finally accomplished their take over of Europe.

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Yet again the Germans and the British have to "discuss" their differences in Belgium.
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Old 12-07-2017, 10:52   #8
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Re: Belgian customs at it again

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Originally Posted by Pete7 View Post
Different interpretation of EU rules by countries is the short answer.

The UK has for some time used red diesel for off road use only, farm tractors, building site equipment, cranes etc. This also included commercial and leisure vessels plus aircraft. The EU decided years ago that this couldn't go on and gave the UK some time to stop it and charge tax on fuel for propulsion particularly for yachts and aircraft. The UK kind of ignored it for a couple of decades as too difficult.

However, eventually the EU put its foot down insisting fuel for propulsion in yachts must be taxed heavily, so the UK came up with a fudge or compromise as civil servants are want to do. So on a tank full of red diesel the yachtie declares at the point of sale how much as a percentage he will use for propulsion and how much for heating and cooking which are not taxed or only lightly. UK Customs and Excise have agreed not to query a 60% propulsion and 40% heating purchase for a yacht. Higher use for heating might be open to a challenge by customs though.

So now and it has happened in the past, Belgium which has a tiny coast of 40 miles or so will fine anyone with even a minor trace of red dye because they believe that red dyed fuel should not be used as its not correctly taxed and not for leisure use. 3ppm has been quoted which gets you a E500 fine.

Once the local marina and harbour businesses feel the pinch words will be said, however, Belgium always has a hung parliament so no one party has sufficient majority to sort anything out.

Pete
To add just a little to this --

ALL marine diesel in the UK is dyed red.

This does not mean that taxes are not paid -- we pay excise tax as required by EU law on whatever part of the fuel is used for propulsion.

So the UK's position is that it fully complies with the EU rules.

But the Belgians (and others) contend that marked fuel must not be used in pleasure yachts whether the tax is paid or not. That's the crux of the issue.

The French don't seem to ever check. The Dutch and Germans have taken a pragmatic approach (after being prodded to) and will let you go if you have receipts showing you have bought fuel and paid excise tax on ALL of it (not just the part used for propulsion). So to comply with this, UK yachtsmen try to buy their last load of fuel before leaving the UK with 100% duty paid.

The Belgians had laid off for a while, but now they're back.

I will steer a wide berth around Belgium if I'm near the coast on the way back to the UK!
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Old 12-07-2017, 12:14   #9
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Re: Belgian customs at it again

Is it worth keeping the recept for the fuel to prove it was brought in the UK. Does anyone know what the fine is and what happens if one does not pay.
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Old 12-07-2017, 12:38   #10
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Re: Belgian customs at it again

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However, eventually the EU put its foot down insisting fuel for propulsion in yachts must be taxed heavily, ...
Does anyone know what the tax per gallon (or per liter) is?

Someone else also thought the fine was 500 Euros. Is this the fine or is it based upon the amount of fuel the vessel carries, or some other variable?
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Old 12-07-2017, 12:58   #11
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Re: Belgian customs at it again

Does anyone have any idea what the UK Government is doing to protect these guys who are getting fined by Belgium?

Maybe it is the intention to deduct it from our exit Brexit bill.... Not that this helps the poor guys who got fined unless the UK government is going to reimburse the fine to the owner of the boat involved.
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Old 12-07-2017, 13:05   #12
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Re: Belgian customs at it again

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Originally Posted by SaltyMetals View Post
Does anyone have any idea what the UK Government is doing to protect these guys who are getting fined by Belgium?

Maybe it is the intention to deduct it from our exit Brexit bill.... Not that this helps the poor guys who got fined unless the UK government is going to reimburse the fine to the owner of the boat involved.
What can they do besides gripe?

The Belgians, of course, a lost cause -- they know very well that you can't even buy unmarked marine diesel in the UK! So a UK yachtsman doesn't even have a choice -- there is no way to comply. Really burns me up. The Belgian jobsworths are shooting fish in a barrel -- see the Red Duster and you're sure that the tank is as red as the ensign . . . easy 500 euro fine . . .
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Old 12-07-2017, 13:12   #13
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Re: Belgian customs at it again

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Does anyone know what the tax per gallon (or per liter) is?

Someone else also thought the fine was 500 Euros. Is this the fine or is it based upon the amount of fuel the vessel carries, or some other variable?
tax per liter : 50 €ct/liter (approx) (ie red is 50 €ct/liter cheaper than white)

I believe the fine is calculated on the size of your tank(s) , ive read that the fine is 4.6 euros/l of tank capacity
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Old 12-07-2017, 13:58   #14
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Re: Belgian customs at it again

I think a boat got done after filling up in Belgium on whit fuel
Another chap tried to produce receipts for fully tax paid fuel but the jobsworths were not interested and issued a fine.

The UK Cruising Association has now issued advice to avoid Belgian waters all together.

I can only hope that by spreading the news about the Belgian behaviour, everyone will boycott the place until the local chambers of commerce wake up and smell the coffee.
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Old 12-07-2017, 14:30   #15
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Re: Belgian customs at it again

In Canada red fuel is for heating , farm equipment, Power generation and any thing else that doesn't use the highways. Officials can take a swab off your tail pipe and can tell if you have ever used coloured fuel. I'd be assuming if I said we can't use coloured fuel in vessels. I wouldn't go near Belgum for all the Tea in China.
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