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Old 25-10-2007, 06:24   #31
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APIS pot continues to boil

Concern about the effect of APIS on yachting tourism is widespread in the eastern Caribbean, and confusion abounds. I tried to get some answers by emailing Ms. Hazzard at JRCC, but got no response. Next Monday I fly over to Antigua to launch my sailboat to bring her back to Nevis, so I'll find out firsthand what Antigua is requiring.

The November edition of the Caribbean Compass will be out in a few days, and I'm sure they will have good coverage of the latest on APIS
. Here's an article from the Safety and Security Net about a recent meeting in Trini:

8 October 2007: Chagaramas, Trinidad. Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS)

Representatives from the Caribbean Marine Association met with officials from the Joint Regional Communications Centre (JRCC) regarding the new Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) and its implications for yachting tourism.
APIS is viewed an integral part of border control and security, designed to catch or discourage terrorists and criminals among ten CARICOM member states: Jamaica, Antigua/Barbuda, St. Kitts/Nevis, Dominica, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Trinidad/Tobago and Guyana, which are known as the Single Domestic Space (SDS). APIS requires that ALL vessels traveling to and from the CARICOM member states complete a form at
Caricom > HOME <http://www.caricomeapis.org> and either submit it online, send by e-mail to maritime@impacsjrcc.org <mailto:maritime@impacsjrcc.org>, or fax it to 246-228-4040. All vessels include cruising and charter yachts, according to the definition stated at the meeting by Commander Louis Baptiste, Director of the JRCC. Commander Baptiste indicated that all ten participating countries have implemented APIS and appropriate legislation has been enacted in each country, amending the immigration acts to include APIS.

After an initial registration by the master of each vessel, EVERY move to and from one of these member states will require the submission of the form, which asks for all the information already required on the clearance forms for each of these countries, plus the flag code (??) of the vessel, and the correct code for the departure and arrival ports. In addition, the form must be submitted:

No later than 24 hours before arrival, when arriving in the SDS from a port outside the SDS
No later than 15 minutes after departure, when departing from the SDS to a port outside the SDS
No later than one hour before departure when traveling between countries within the SDS

Various CMA representatives presented some of the challenges facing yachtsmen in their attempts to comply with this new legislation, not the least of which is a wide variation in the legislation passed and the implementation in effect within each member state. JRCC has provided no public dissemination of procedures to the yachting visitor, and actual practice is left to the Immigration Office in each port of entry/departure.

A number of potential solutions, both temporary and permanent were suggested, and JRCC agreed to consider some of these suggestions. CMA warned that if significant changes are not made to the APIS system for yachts, it will either fail through non-compliance or cripple the yachting industry in the region, as the yachtsmen will be attracted to more visitor friendly destinations.

Unfortunately, there is no single website where the yachtsman can find the answers to his questions. Information MAY be obtained by e-mailing Diane Hazzard at
diane.hazzard@impacsjrcc.org <mailto:diane.hazzard@impacsjrcc.org>. Concerns should be expressed to the Caribbean Compass (compass@caribsurf.com <mailto:compass@caribsurf.com>), Keats Compton, president of the CMA (keats@miasl.org <mailto:keats@miasl.org>) or any of the other officers of CMS, the local marine trades organizations in the various member countries, and the Ministries of Tourism of those countries.

As more information becomes available, that news will be included here at
www.safetyandsecuritynet.com/news.html
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Old 25-10-2007, 06:31   #32
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APIS updates on Chris Doyle's website

Caribbeanbean sailing guide author Chris Doyle is all over the APIS thing:

NEW APIS REGULATIONS


He says that Antigua and Barbuda may have backed off, but St Vincent and the Grenadines is enforcing it on yachts.
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Old 25-10-2007, 09:25   #33
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Thanks for the update

Hud3: Thank you for keeping on top of this issue and bringing it to our attention. Given the communication capabilities that I have on my boat there would be many times that I could not comply with this requirement especially if I were coming from outside the area. Do they say what the penalties would be for non compliance? I will look for a post documenting your actual experience.
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Old 25-10-2007, 11:01   #34
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Potential fines for violating API requirements

Hi, Alaskadog.

I'm definitely trying to stay on top of this. If APIS is enforced as written, it will seriously impact the pleasure of cruising from island to island because of the extra time and effort it will take me to comply. Each time I wanted to sail from one island to another, I would have to find an Internet cafe and file a raft of data on APIS, within strict time limits, then go clear out thru customs and immigration, then go thru the reverse procedure when arriving at my destination.

Even worse is the threat of heavy fines for non-compliance or inadvertently filing incomplete or inaccurate data, whether through ignorance, happenstance or inability to submit the forms for lack of technologly. JRCC publications on the APIS requirements are not easy for a yachtie to follow or interpret--heavy beaureaucratese with a LOT of acroynms, and an underlying assumption that the reader is as knowledgeable as a cruise ship operator or commercial airline operator in these matters.

According to Chris Doyle, they could fine a yachtowner up to $250,000 EC ($92,500 US). "Oh", you might say, "they would never do that for someone who made an honest mistake." "Well", the enforcement officer says, "the law is the law! We need to make an example of someone. Pay up or lose your boat!"

Here's an account of an enforcement incident in the Grenadines from Chris Doyle's website:

ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES APPLY API
Legislation includes: "Where a master of a vessel, intentionally or recklessly (a) fails to transmit the data .... or (b) transmits incomplete or false data, the master commits an offense and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of two hundred thousand dollars (EC$)"
This means that if a charter yacht arrived from Martinique without doing the proper clearance they could be fined $250,000 ECD. It will probably not be applied badly, but such legislation should not be on the books. People will not come if they think they might lose their yacht.
Contact their tourist offices let them know what you think! Email might be the better way. If we want to have a major effect we need to be very polite, there is no need to say how much yachts spend, they already know; what is much more effective is an honest assessment of how you feel about this, whether the thought of a 250 thousand dollar fine for filling in a form wrong scares you, and how it is likely to affect your travels.
St. Vincent: 784-457-1502 or tourism@vincysurf.com speak or write to: Vida Bernard
Bequia, 784-458-3286 speak to Shari

This is the first enforcement report to come my way:
A friend checked in at Union Island yesterday and was asked by Immigration if he had filed an APIS. My friend said no and the Immigration Officer sent him back to Clifton to fill one out.
The form requests a flag code, which may mean something to an airplane or a cruise ship but means nothing to a yacht. It also asks for the port code for the departure port and the arrival port -- these codes appear to be airport codes -- again, a yachtsman has no way of knowing what the airport code is for the airport closest to where he is checking in. The form also asks for a call sign, which is not required by all countries for operation of a radio, VHF or HF.
My friend completed the form and submitted it online and returned to Immigration. The Immigration Officer did not ask for a copy of the form (this is now different from the procedure in Antigua) and had no apparent way of checking to see if indeed the person had completed the form.

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Old 25-10-2007, 17:06   #35
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This is a potential disaster for cruisers. It's easy to say 'well, just boycot those countries'. But if you sail from the East coast or the Gulf coast, the dream is to sail the Leeward/Windward chain. If you take "Antigua/Barbuda, St. Kitts/Nevis, Dominica, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Trinidad/Tobago" out of the equation, well ... you can sail from USVI to St. Maarten and from there to Martinique, and from there to ........ uh, Venezuela? - Oops, forgot - you can sail to Mansarrat and watch the volcano erupt.

Hopefully, this will be resolved in one of two ways:

1. Local legislatures will come to their senses and make reasonable accommodations for liveaboard cruisers; or

2. It will become kind of like the Bahamas where no one really knows what the rules are and the local customs/immigration officer is laid back on island time - as long as you fill out the latest form and pay a reasonable fee, it's OK, mon.

#2 is certainly the way it was in the Caribbean just a few years ago.

In the meantime I nominate Hud3 to keep us up-to-date on developments (no good deed goes unpunished). This cruising ground is a far too important part of paradise to simply blow off and ignore.

Hmmm - there's always a third choice. Maybe CARICOM could use some big fines to finance a high powered SDS-wide free Internet access network - maybe this won't be disaster at all.
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Old 25-10-2007, 21:52   #36
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Snow in the Caribbean...

One of the classic ways of dealing with an intrusive bureaucracy is the snow job.

That is everyone aims for total cooperation with every possible rule.

So comply with every possible requirement at every port.

Print up a set of papers (should need around half a dozen A4 sheets at least) and fax or mail these ahead of each visit.

Not sure who should get them. Not a problem - send them to all officials involved.

No sure how far in advance - send at one month, two weeks, one week and three days.

Several thousand cruisers would have them drowning in paper in no time...
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Old 02-11-2007, 10:49   #37
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APIS Update

Just got back from Antigua, after launching "The Belle" for the season. When I cleared out, I learned from the immigration officer that Antigua was no longer enforcing APIS on small yachts. She said that the requirements still apply to yachts over 100 tons. My concern continues to be that, with the laws on the books, enforcement could be re-instated with no notice, and failure to comply is subject to fines of $200,000 to $300,000 EC dollars.

Sally Erdle, editor of the Caribbean Compass, has done a thorough job of documenting the lastest in the November issue. LINK: Working Together

Here's what she wrote about each individual islands' approach:

Island by Island
As this issue of Compass goes to press, the current situation to the best of our knowledge is as follows.ˇ
Antigua & Barbuda, which had been asking yacht skippers to go to an internet café and fill out APIS forms this summer under its Immigration and Passport (Amendment) Act, 2007, has now suspended enforcement of this requirement for all yachts.ˇ
St. Kitts and Nevis are not applying an APIS requirement at the moment and according to a correspondent have no plans to do so in the immediate future: "They think it would cause confusion among the yachts. They particularly appreciate that the 24-hour rule cannot work for them with yachts coming from non-API islands like St. Barts."ˇ
In Dominica, "this would not be implemented any time soon," according to one official. Dominica, being located between the non-API islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, would be especially vulnerable to the 24-hour rule.ˇ
St. Lucia has not yet enforced its APIS legislation either, and Keats Compton, as President of the Marine Industry Association of St. Lucia, is writing to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Tourism formally requesting the suspension of St. Lucia's Immigration Act of 2007 as it applies to yachts.ˇ
St. Vincent & the Grenadines Immigration officers asked yachts to fill out APIS forms online for a brief period in October, and one or more boats arriving from Grenada waters were reportedly turned away at Union Island because they hadn't filed API forms before leaving Grenada. However, Melodye Pompa of the Caribbean Safety & Security Net says that yachts clearing out of Union Island have not reported any mention of APIS. The issue of API for yachts is set to be the top agenda item for an October 29th meeting of SVG's Tourism Advisory Board.ˇ
Grenada has not enforced its Immigration (Amendment) Act of 2007 in regard to yachts.ˇ
Trinidad & Tobago's legislation requiring APIS enforcement expired on June 30th and has not been renewed.
With relatively little visiting yacht traffic, especially at this time of year, we've had no feedback from Guyana, Barbados or Jamaica.

For updates on the APIS situation visit the Safety & Security Net's NEWS and Chris Doyles' site NEW APIS REGULATIONS.

BTW, it was a great 52 nm downwind sail from Antigua to Nevis, in 16-18 kt winds, with sunny skies. Life is good!
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Old 01-12-2007, 14:47   #38
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APIS Dormant in the east Caribbean (for now!)

Here's an update on the Advance Passenger Information System, as of November 30th, from Chris Doyle's website: NEW APIS REGULATIONS

GOOD NEWS! I can now confirm API has been suspended in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the level of knowledge about it among the officials in Union Island, leads me to believe that the knowledge of this will have gone out to every customs station. So for the time being none of the Eastern Caribbean islands on the main sailing route are applying API. API is now dormant for most of us. I would like to think it was dead, but I am not convinced of that yet. However, hopefully we can sail this coming season free of this badly thought-out bureaucratic nightmare. I would like to thank all those who took action on this whether it was contacting tourist offices, complaining, or avoiding islands that instituted API. It all had an effect. Away from the main yachting islands I am checking on the status of Montserrat, but no one has yet complained, so hopefully it is not being applied there. I will work on the information for Guyana, but that may take a few days. I have heard a rumor that Barbados has now started applying it, but have no confirmation.
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Old 01-12-2007, 14:52   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hud3 View Post
Here's an update on the Advance Passenger Information System, as of November 30th, from Chris Doyle's website: NEW APIS REGULATIONS

GOOD NEWS! I can now confirm API has been suspended in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the level of knowledge about it among the officials in Union Island, leads me to believe that the knowledge of this will have gone out to every customs station. So for the time being none of the Eastern Caribbean islands on the main sailing route are applying API. API is now dormant for most of us. I would like to think it was dead, but I am not convinced of that yet. However, hopefully we can sail this coming season free of this badly thought-out bureaucratic nightmare. I would like to thank all those who took action on this whether it was contacting tourist offices, complaining, or avoiding islands that instituted API. It all had an effect. Away from the main yachting islands I am checking on the status of Montserrat, but no one has yet complained, so hopefully it is not being applied there. I will work on the information for Guyana, but that may take a few days. I have heard a rumor that Barbados has now started applying it, but have no confirmation.

HORRAY!

For those of you fortunate enough to be in the area and hopefully my future.
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Old 01-12-2007, 15:15   #40
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"I agree with you that some of the new regulations seem absurd to us, but can you imagine how our policies appear to the rest of the world. Our entry policies are much more restrictive that most nations."

Our border policies don't seem to be slowing down the ILLEGAL immigration into this country!.. Being a native of South Florida, I've had it with this gov't (and I'm a Republican!) not enforcing laws to protect our borders, but make it near impossible for somebody to fly into a U.S. airport........ where is the sense in all of this!?!
Our politicians, or anybody else for that matter, does not have a clue as to how many people are in our country illegally..... if there's one subject that pushes my "button" it's this one!............ ALL politicians have caused this problem...... and now it's not "what if" but "when" we have another catastrophe.... God help us all!
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Old 01-12-2007, 15:46   #41
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Cruising is a headache for most governments. They have to rescue some folk, keep track of others, provide facilities etc. They do not mind locals cruising about--it is cruisers from other countries they would prefer not to bother with. Add to these services the risks in some people transporting nasty stuff in a yacht from overseas and it becomes in their interest to discourage not only those seeking to come directly to their ports but also those coming to ports in neighboring countries.

I have watched things getting more difficult for a long time now. Cruising folk are the most pleasant and friendly people of all for the most part--but we had a case a while back when French commandos sailed into New Zealand as cruising yachtsmen and blew up a protest vessel with loss of life--and it would not be too difficult for some of the lunatic/fanatic fringe to sail something really bad into a major countries ports from a place close by where rules are a bit slacker.

Of course they really want to know who is on board, where the vessel has been recently and where it was before that as well as registry etc.

Just what I would want to know If I was charged with defending my own country against fanatics. Countries often persue what is revealed in hindsight to be wrong policies--a government can be bloody unpopular and yet its citizens as individuals be admired. I think in most countries it stems from lobby groups who have way too much influence--but let's not go there. It is just the same in the Land of Oz.

The purpose of over-stringent regulations is (I suspect) twofold. To discourage people from going there in the first instance and to find out everything they can about those not discouraged. We will just have to comply if the game is worth the carrot.

The countries concerned will make changes only if it costs them a lot of money.

Yachties provide comparatively little money as a group compared to other tourists--and other tourists and yachties wanting to cruise their coasts can hire boats already there. Which may well be the way to go--but certainly not for me.

There is also the phenomenon of the pissed-with-power bureaucrat, who no one takes any notice of except when at work--where they can become a little tin god despot. A pox on their tribe--it seems to be on the increase--
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Old 01-12-2007, 15:52   #42
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In general it seems that every hobby is turning into such a pain in the ass with taxes, paperwork, maintenance etc. that it's really not worth the trouble. Everything from fishing, boating, flying, shooting, horses etc. has turned into more work than fun. Alot of this stems from our overbearing good ol US who think we rule the world when in fact we are some of the least "free" people in the world. There's a big difference difference between freedom and perceived security.
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Old 01-12-2007, 17:07   #43
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"I agree with you that some of the new regulations seem absurd to us, but can you imagine how our policies appear to the rest of the world. Our entry policies are much more restrictive that most nations."

Actually...........ummm...........I think they are not.
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Old 01-12-2007, 19:21   #44
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I agree with you, Therapy.......... unfortunetly we may already be in big trouble.......

but, getting back to Carribean, I've heard more than several times that we're not really welcome in the islands, I guess if we're cruzin' down there just be friendly and spend money...... but, I do that no matter where I am.........
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Old 01-12-2007, 19:28   #45
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Actually, boating is an important stream of revenue in the Eastern Caribbean. There are more cabins on boats than hotel rooms in the BVI's and cruisers are more important on Grenada than Cruise Ships and not far behind land based tourists.
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