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Old 18-10-2011, 05:51   #1
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Boats Seized for Traveling to Cuba ?

Just wondering if anyone has first hand info on a US registered boat being seized for traveling to Cuba.
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Old 24-10-2011, 08:17   #2
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Re: Boats Seized for Traveling to Cuba ?

I never heard of one being seized but I've been to Cuba a lot in the Navy and on one ship we had a coast guard detachment. Otherwise we had no authority to board US vessels. We boarded nearly every one we saw coming from the direction of Cuba or going in that direction. The coast guard det did all the dirty work. I wouldn't recommend going anywhere near cuba if you have a US flag. It's not allowed.
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Old 24-10-2011, 08:45   #3
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Re: Boats Seized for Traveling to Cuba ?

I thought that unauthorized US citizens weren't allowed to spend any money or engage in transactions in/with Cuba....The act of traveling to and from Cuba if the above is followed I don't think is a crime.
I have recently read that these rules are being revised so take care.
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Old 24-10-2011, 08:57   #4
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Re: Boats Seized for Traveling to Cuba ?

if it is so unlawful for us flagged sailboats to sail to cuba, then why is it my friends who sail there are able to sail there unmolested?? they spend no money there--funny how they are even allowed to sail sans interruption , and their boats are continuing to remain in their possession.
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Old 24-10-2011, 09:03   #5
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Re: Boats Seized for Traveling to Cuba ?

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Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
if it is so unlawful for us flagged sailboats to sail to cuba, then why is it my friends who sail there are able to sail there unmolested?? they spend no money there--funny how they are even allowed to sail sans interruption , and their boats are continuing to remain in their possession.
It's perfectly legal to break the law until you're caught.
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Old 24-10-2011, 09:08   #6
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Re: Boats Seized for Traveling to Cuba ?

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It's perfectly legal to break the law until you're caught.
considering they are licensed captains, i think they would be concerned about their licenses if they were actually BREAKING any laws. and new enough captains to be still paranoid. so....... i really believe the only thing we are NOT allowed to do is SPEND OUR USA DOLLARS there.
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Old 24-10-2011, 09:14   #7
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Re: Boats Seized for Traveling to Cuba ?

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considering they are licensed captains, i think they would be concerned about their licenses if they were actually BREAKING any laws. and new enough captains to be still paranoid. so....... i really believe the only thing we are NOT allowed to do is SPEND OUR USA DOLLARS there.
Or engage in transactions (I'm thinking it must be commercial in nature...not like bodily fluids, or smiles)
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Old 24-10-2011, 09:35   #8
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Re: Boats Seized for Traveling to Cuba ?

i havent heard of confiscations of boats, but i am waiting for the gun to go off saying is time and legal to go --- just saying some folks havent waited and still have their boats and didnt spend money there. it isnt like when my great grandfather owned a canning company in tampa and got his sugar cane and ceegars in havana...i think he even owned property there for a bit---all was sold off in 1950something--57, mebbe, thereabouts--i remember him saying things about the changes coming to the region, back in my kidhood.
some time before i die i wann see ALL the places my ancestors owned and visited in caribean.....
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Old 24-10-2011, 09:39   #9
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Re: Boats Seized for Traveling to Cuba ?

It is not illegal for US citizens to travel to Cuba. It is illegal to spend ANY money there. That's why the Treasury Dept handles this. It is their opinion that if you spend any time at all in Cuba you must have spent money so you broke the law. Remember that this is a trade embargo. And it's time we did away with it. Google "Travelling to Cuba" and you will find lots of info. BOB
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Old 24-10-2011, 09:45   #10
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Re: Boats Seized for Traveling to Cuba ?

State department web page documenting the current regulations.

Back in the Bush days there was a legal theory and several cruiser prosecuted simply for visiting Cuba while not spending money (I believe under the "giving aid and comfort to the enemy" law).

That's changed and we are back to the 'just don't spend money" but in Jan 2011 Obama also opened up several big loopholes in that law and there are apparently estimated to be approximately 500,000 us visitors to Cuba this year.

Regarding enforcement: A total of 290 individuals were penalized in 2004, 579 in 2005, 21 in 2006, and 17 in 2007. In 2008, OFAC reported that 32 individuals were penalized, with the great majority for having purchased of Cuban cigars over the Internet, while in 2009, just three individuals were penalized, and just one individual in 2010.
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Old 24-10-2011, 10:12   #11
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Re: Boats Seized for Traveling to Cuba ?

While slightly off-topic, when returning from British Columbia waters this summer, the US Customs folks decided to come on our boat and look around. Not with a lot of interest, but aboard nonetheless. One of the things he was most curious about was whether we had bought any tobacco in BC, especially any Cuban cigars.

So, even up here in moss-land, they really want to keep those Cohibas at bay! Lord only knows what would happen if they didn't!

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Old 24-10-2011, 10:18   #12
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Re: Boats Seized for Traveling to Cuba ?

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Originally Posted by Intentional Drifter View Post
While slightly off-topic, when returning from British Columbia waters this summer, the US Customs folks decided to come on our boat and look around. Not with a lot of interest, but aboard nonetheless. One of the things he was most curious about was whether we had bought any tobacco in BC, especially any Cuban cigars.

So, even up here in moss-land, they really want to keep those Cohibas at bay! Lord only knows what would happen if they didn't!

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When entering the US in northren Idaho in the '80's the US Custom's main concern was if I was bringing cases of Canadian whiskey into the US.
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Old 24-10-2011, 10:21   #13
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Re: Boats Seized for Traveling to Cuba ?

FYI, It is still illegal for US Citizens to travel to Cuba without authorization by the State Dept. and there are at least a dozen or more lengthy threads here on this. There have been some minor changes but most apply to Cuban-Americans and not the average citizen. The good news is that there are 4 bills in congress to lift the travel restrictions IF our government ever gets back to governing. The other potential good news is that congress did vote to remove all funding to maintain and impose the travel restrictions. Take that for what you will. From the Miami Herald article, "changes do not lift the economic embargo and that tourist travel to Cuba remains illegalChuck
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Old 24-10-2011, 18:38   #14
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Re: Boats Seized for Traveling to Cuba ?

There are actually five US Government agencies that have a role in enforcing the US Cuba embargo:

* State Department - Involved with applicable passport and visa requirements, such as they exist

* Treasury Department - Office of Foreign Assets Control - regulates and licenses financial transactions with Cuba. In general OFAC will not license tourist travel to Cuba

* Commerce Department - Bureau of Industry and Security - regluates and licenses exports of items from the US, including temporary exports of vessels. In beneral BIS will not license a temporary export ("temporary sojurn") of private vessels to Cuba. BIS has previously issued monetary penalties and warnings to skippers who organized regattas and fishing tournaments between Florida and Cuba.

* Coast Guard (Homeland Security) - Requires inbound/outbound vessels bound for Cuba to report in/out

* Customs and Border Protection (Homeland Security) - Enforces laws and regulations for other agencies including OFAC and BIS. Technically Customs can seize a vessel found to have been used in a violation of any of the laws/regs it enforces - this is the authority they use to seize vessels and aircraft involved in drug smuggling, for example. So the authority for seizure exists, although I don't know of any instances of Customs actually exercising that authority.

Do I think the US Government has better things to do than pursue enforcement actions against skippers and vessels that violate the rules and go to Cuba. You betcha. But that said, the authorities exist, and it's up to the individual agencies and their officers when and how they choose to enforce their requirements. Look at the OFAC stats quoted in an earlier post - is OFAC really having an impact on the economy of Cuba, by penalizing individuals who import Cuban cigars? Probably not. But they're still issuing the penalties - they have the legal authority, and for whatever reason they choose to apply their resources in doing so. BIS has done the same thing in the past.

Like Zeehag, we're waiting for the official "opening" of Cuba by the US, and then we plan to go - about a year later, figuring that the place will be saturated at first.
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Old 24-10-2011, 18:51   #15
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Re: Boats Seized for Traveling to Cuba ?

I forgot to add that the Sarasota Yacht Club has been trying since 2009 to obtain an OFAC license to participate in a Cuban regatta from Marina Hemingway to Havana. According to the SYC website, OFAC has denied their license, citing that the regatta is not in the foreign policy interests of the US. The regatta has been postponed until at least 2013. See: Sarasota - Havana Regatta - Sarasota Yacht Club

So it would appear that the USGovt still takes the position that it doesn't approve of pleasure craft going to Cuba.
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