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Old 06-10-2007, 13:33   #1
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New Red Tape for Caribbean Cruisers

For those who cruise, or plan to cruise the eastern Caribbean, either in your own yacht or in a charter boat...get ready for a load of beaureaucratic bull s**t.

Unless island government officials come to their senses, cruisers in private yachts and charter vessels will face a new layer of red tape when sailing amongst ten islands in the eastern Caribbean
--the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS). Originally applied to airlines and cruise ships, it is now being interpreted as applying to small cruising yachts. Antigua has begun enforcing it, and other islands may soon follow.

Here's a summary--more information can be found in the Caribbean Compass article in the link below:

Advance Passenger Information

"Legislation has been passed which provides for an obligation for Advance Passenger Information to be transmitted to the ten participating
CARICOM Member States for ALL air and sea carriers arriving at, and departing from each Member State." Participating CARICOM member states are Jamaica, Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis, Dominica, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana. Private yachts and charter yachts are covered by the requirement to fill out a detailed form which asks for information such as passengers' names, nationalities and passport numbers, and the vessel or aircraft's dates and times (in hours and minutes) of departure and arrival.

According to the Joint Regional Communications Centre (JRCC) of the Caribbean Common Market (CARICOM) in Barbados, the form can be submitted by filling it in on-line using the XLS format available on the website, by creating an XML file (using their XML schema) and sending it as an e-mail attachment, or by printing the on-line form, filling it in and faxing it. The fax option is to be used in the event of failure or unavailability of electronic equipment.
Submissions must be made according to a strict timetable relevant to times of departure and/or arrival, with different advance times depending on whether you are arriving in, departing from, or traveling within the CARICOM Single Domestic Space."

How many of us have full-featured internet access, ability to email forms as attachments, or a printer and fax machine on our boats? The U
.S. got the ball rolling on this monstrosity, but the paperwork-loving island beaureaucracies appear to be ready to jump on the bandwagon.
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Old 06-10-2007, 16:09   #2
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The resolution to these and many other issues such as this that affects the sailing community has a very simple but for some strange reason impossible conclusion. STOP GOING TO THESE PLACES! Why this is so difficult for boaters to comprehend is beyond my understanding. Once the parties realize what contribution the cruisers make to the economy and those businesses most affected start to apply pressure all this will go away. But woe is me, I have to continue to feed the bureaucrats and their ridiculous regulations and there is nothing to do. What sense does this attitude make. Avoid those islands and countries till they achieve some resemblance of common sense, period. Maybe it is too much exposure to sunlight or salt air that tricks the brain into just accepting the inevitable instead of really taking a stand and saying to those powers that I am mad as hell and not going to take it any more. I really grieve for our society today.
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Old 06-10-2007, 16:38   #3
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I find it odd that we, Americans, complain about the regulations of other countries. We seem to have the attitude that they should just let us come and go as we please....after all, we're Americans. Compared to the USA, most of these foreign countries have comparatively easy visitation procedures. Ask any foreign visitor to this country to explain the hoops that they had to jump through to come here.

If you want to visit their country, stop bitchin and try respecting their policies. It's their country and they can have whatever policies that they desire.
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Old 06-10-2007, 16:42   #4
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rleslie, I do agree with your post but on the other hand there are new regulations almost daily that are completely absurd that have no bearing on small boats. These are the issues we are discussing.
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Old 06-10-2007, 17:06   #5
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Chuck

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. My wife and I visited Honduras for two weeks in June. All we had to do is present our passports and declare certain items. That's it!! Can you imagine what a Honduran must do to get in here.

My point is simple; it's their country and we should gladly comply with whatever regulations that they feel are important to their country. Just as those entering this country should do. Complaining about the new regs, seems to me to be too prevalent on this board.

I do appreciate Hud3 presenting us with the new regs. This info will be very helpful to many.
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Old 06-10-2007, 19:08   #6
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Floating a 22,000lb+ transportation machine with lots of hiding places carries risks for the receiving gov't.

Singapore being one ofthe most restrictive countries in the world has relatively easy rules. I agree that the US is one tough nut to crack.

As long as the rules are consistent and follow a procedure I think it is OK to deal with them.

Learn the rules and follow them is my opinion.
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Old 06-10-2007, 21:24   #7
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Originally Posted by rleslie View Post
Chuck


All we had to do is present our passports and declare certain items. That's it!! Can you imagine what a Honduran must do to get in here.

UMMM..................I think it is about the same.
Plus they know that if they really, really want to come to the US and stay there, all they have to do is get their "feet dry".

Try that on them and see what happens.

Most other countrys are much stricter than the US and always have been.
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Old 06-10-2007, 23:41   #8
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All countries should, in my opinion, lighten up. Governments cause me more stress and depression than I think anything else has.
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Old 07-10-2007, 02:22   #9
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UMMM..................I think it is about the same.
Plus they know that if they really, really want to come to the US and stay there, all they have to do is get their "feet dry".

Try that on them and see what happens.

Most other countrys are much stricter than the US and always have been.
Therapy, I beg to differ. Arrival at international airports in the USA has often been a nightmare for many non-US citizens, particularly in recent years. The shenanigans caused by over-enthusiastic customs and immigration officers, admittedly sticking to the letter of the laws of the countries in which they operate, have to be seen to be believed.

The rise of bureaucracy and ludicrous entry requirements in recent years has been led and promulgated by the USA. When other countries follow suit, it may because of prompting from US agencies who want to know who is travelling where and when. Because of local problems e.g. trying to stop the flow of drugs the Caribbean governments/civil servants may of course simply have latched on to the US idea that knowing everything about everyone is the only way to go.

You may have read on these forums lately about the difficulties for sailors who are thinking of sailing to Australian ports. Perhaps all this tracking of people is inspired by the manufacturers of satellite communications equipment who see a handy way of increasing their market? The military-industrial complex looking for new avenues to exploit?

In any event all this paperwork is just one more nuisance.
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Old 07-10-2007, 06:34   #10
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Please don't misinterpret my intent.

I believe every government has the right and obligation to monitor and control aliens entering and leaving it's country
. I dutifully dinghy in to the customs/immigration office(s) to clear in and clear out and pay the required fees for the privilege of my wife and I visiting some extremely beautiful and interesting destinations. No problem, although it can knock as much as half a day off one's cruising schedule (more of concern to charterers).
My concern about APIS is that it is a system designed for comercial mass carriers (airlines and cruise ships) that is being applied to small yachts with typically two persons aboard, maybe a few more if it's a charter.

Here's the opening quote from the Caribbean Compass article on APIS:


On August 11th, Penny Tyas wrote to yachtbuddy.com: "This morning a cruising yachtsman who arrived in [Antigua] waters some two weeks ago for repairs and relaxation, went to clear out prior to his departure tomorrow for islands south. Customs clearance went according to plan, but he was informed that he would have to come back in the afternoon to clear Immigration, and he was given a form to complete.
"This afternoon he presented himself with all his documentation and the completed form, but then learned that the form was no longer sufficient, and since July 31st it has become a requirement to complete an Advance Passenger Information System form on-line.
"The frustrated Captain was left no choice but to arrange to go back a third time to Immigration in order to get the required clearance to leave the country."
Other visiting yacht skippers reported similar experiences in Antigua.

Any skipper who's cleared in or out during the High Season will recognize a disaster in the making! The article concludes,

...demanding API from yachts in the Eastern Caribbean is unlikely to help the war on terror, strict enforcement and thorough follow-up would be an additional burden on law-enforcement agencies in the countries involved, and it is quite likely to harm the sub-region's valuable yacht-tourism industry.As Penny Tyas wrote from Antigua, "How is it that in a country relying so heavily on tourism, a large part of which is wrapped up in the yachting industry, there is so little effort put in by government bodies to relieve the pressures of bureaucracy? How can we continue to promote Antigua as a superior yachting destination when Captains are confronted by bureaucratic procedures that cannot be anticipated or investigated and cannot be practically upheld? If a person cannot even leave the country without bureaucratic headaches, how can we possibly persuade him to return?"

Several of the CARICOM islands had been making significant progress in standardizing and simplifying the confusingly different requirements for yachts entering and leaving their waters, in the realization that yachting tourism is an important and growing sector of their local economies. APIS is a giant step in the wrong direction
. It adds nothing significant to the existing ability of the islands to control their borders, yet it places heavy and possibly impossible requirements on yachters.

Chris Doyle, author of the popular Caribbean cruising guides, has this to say:

If this legislation is allowed to stand without modification
...it will be immensely damaging to the entire Caribbean yachting industry. Hampering the free movement of yachts with a mass of red tape will make the Caribbean way less attractive to visitors, both those cruising on their own boats and those who fly in to charter a boat here. In the long term,
as the news gets out, it will mean fewer yachts and fewer yachting visitors, and the bareboat charter industry, always struggling, will find it very hard to manage.


Chuck suggests that if cruisers don't like it, they shouldn't go to those islands
. Chuck, I think that is what will happen, at least to some extent. But for a cruising couple, having invested the time, money and considerable effort to sail their boat to the eastern Caribbean, or for charterers on a "dream vacation", that would sure limit the fun of exploration.

The officials responsible for promoting tourism on these islands should be very, very concerned
.

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Old 07-10-2007, 07:57   #11
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All countries should, in my opinion, lighten up. Governments cause me more stress and depression than I think anything else has.
Couldn't agree more!
However being a sailor in European waters seems like a breeze compared to the Americas and also Australia, not to mention New Zealand.

I bought a cat i Spain in 2001 and during the delivery i tried to check the boat out of Gibraltar. But no success, they were simply not interested in me and my trip out of their waters. I've been to several EU countries and the only thing you need to do is to calll up the harbour master for docking.

Happy leadfree sailin!
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Old 07-10-2007, 08:34   #12
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The first post mentions that it is probably the USA that got the ball rolling and encourages this tracking limiting of freedom and free spirit. I have the utmost respect for peoples all over the world and have seen a great deal of it....The little bit I do contribute is definitely NOT MUCH but way better than nothing. Also I would rather give my hundred bucks to the (boat boys) or local vendors than to some beauracratic official and I am SURE all terreroists and smugglers will be standing in line behind me to pay these fees's What a PITA!!!! Could turn a mild meek fellow into a pyrate.........
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Old 07-10-2007, 12:21   #13
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Thanks Hud3

Hud 3: thank you for letting us know about the new bureaucratic hurdles for cruisers desiring to visit the eastern Caribbean. This forum, as usual is a never ending supply of useful information. I am naturally disappointed about this development and I will monitor the situation and check it closely before heading to that area. I have no internet capability on my boat when I am at sea. It seems that probably laws intended for large ships which have all the modern means of communication, satellite, etc. were made and the small time cruiser got snared also. Thanks again. However, I do not agree with your assessment that policies in the USA were or are responsible for the bureaucratic actions of Antigua, Barbados,etc. Even if that were so, it is besides the point.

Chuck: I agree with your assessment. If these countries make it too much of a headache then I just will not go. Disappointing for me and could be a negative economic impact to those businesses who cater to cruisers if enough people felt that way. This could be an unintended consequence of an increase in the administative requirments of entering their country. BTW, Chuck I think we met in Isla Mujeres at Marina Paraisio in late 2005 or early 2006. Say about Christmas time. You advised me on my SSB radio and gave us some useful GPS waypoints.

rleslie,kesey,sluissa, therapy: This will not only impact USA cruisers who you (rleslie) seem to think have some kind of bad attitude. Hud 3 never said that he thought he should come and go as he pleases. I have met hundreds of cruisers, Europeans as well as Americans and Canadians, and I never had anyone to say they thought they should be able to come and go as they please. It will impact lots of European and Canadian cruisers, as well. Also, rleslie, as for checking into Honduras. From your statement it appears as if you flew in there. Do not confuse what you have to do to gain entry into a foreign country, Honduras, as per your example, with the requirments and expense of clearing in on a boat. No similarity whatever. Some are easier than others but they all are different and in general much more costly and time consuming than flying in or going on a big cruise ship. And BTW, what does clearing in to the USA have anything to do with clearing into the many various island countries of the eastern Caribbean? Many of these countries are only a day or two sail apart from each other and make most of their income from tourists of all sorts. Oh, and as an aside, I suspect that a Honduran or Guatemalan or Mexican who comes to the States on their yachts has no different experience than a Canadian or European who comes to the States on their boats. I saw a Mexican sailboat at Marathon, FL a couple of years ago and he, the capitan, did not seem to be upset by his experience of clearing into the States. And yes, there are wealthy Guatemalan and Mexican people with large yachts. And it goes without saying that other countries have the right and responsiblity to enact laws to protect their interests. In general, most small boats visiting in these countries are burdened with the same types of bureauracy that are imposed on large ships that come in with cargo. When the laws were enacted dealing with visiting ships many years ago the large fleet of small private yachts was practically nonexistent and much too small to consider in terms of making exceptions or handling them any differently. What seems to be the general trend today is that some of the Central American countries, and the USA also,are trying to ease things a bit for the small boat cruiser or at least tying to consider the special situation of the small cruiser. Mexico has eased up considerably and the CA3 countries are trying to simplfy the requirements of cruisers who travel very frequently within and between these countries. It will never be as simple to clear in when arriving on a boat as when flying or driving in and should not be. These countries have valid concerns that they have to address, such as boats smuggling in products for sale on the black market and in the case of Belize and Guatemala concerns about protecting their agricultural industry from importation of pests and diseases. And they charge fees which probably help to offset the cost of doing their work. No complaints here for the most part except for the insistence of the Mexicans that I have to have an Importada for my occasional entry into and transit of their country. But I have the same complaint for much of the taxation that is applied especially to boat owners by many of the states in the USA.
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Old 07-10-2007, 14:00   #14
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Joe, Excellent reply. Yes I do remember our meeting in Isla. Lots of water under the keel for both of us since then. Hope all is well.
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Old 07-10-2007, 14:16   #15
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But I have the same complaint for much of the taxation that is applied especially to boat owners by many of the states in the USA.
You get taxed and have to be checked in and out of each state as you cruise?

Surely not.
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