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Old 30-03-2013, 11:05   #61
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Re: Extortion in Nassau

I hate to do it, but I will make a prediction that the three sheets crew are going to learn another lesson the hard way. I will be quite surprised if they see one dime from either the insurance company or Yanmar. They will be very lucky if they don't get stuck with a whopping bill from Towboat for the aborted mission.

Seawater in the cylinders is not usually the fault of the engine manufacturer, and it is not an accident.
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Old 30-03-2013, 11:06   #62
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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post

Now that's funny. Never heard that before. Did you make that up yourself or is it a part of the cruising lexicon that I missed?

And it is so true. It seems like the common mentality is that beyond Georgetown you have reached the area that in old nautical charts said "Here be Dragons".
That IS funny! I've too heard something similar, but not chicken harbor lol.

PS s/v Jedi....my husband said he loves the name.
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Old 30-03-2013, 11:38   #63
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sovereignty of Nassau, their laws, regulations and officials

Nothing about this experience surprises me. All of us must obey the laws and policies of foreign governments and work with the officials who are charged to enforce the laws; and in my experience, those officials will work with you to bend the laws as long as they are treated with respect. The minute you disrespect them in any way, you will cause a problem for yourself and those people in your wake.

Unfortunately we have been in the wake of several official-bashers. Please try to leave a Cean Wake.

One more thing, this thread has been read by the officials you mention and I guaranty you that the next visitor with a similar issue will likely be treated worse.

Regarding the State Department,, it is not there to negotiate special treatment outside of the laws of Nassau. If you are jailed, they will help you find a lawyer. The State Department knows better than anyone contributing to this thread how important it is to respect the sovereignty of other countries and their laws and regulations.

I am truly sorry that you had this problem, but remember, your problem has impacted any of us that visit there.

Best,

Bill
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Old 30-03-2013, 11:52   #64
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I'm always amused at how people so easily slip into nasty comments online. It's easy to do when one makes assumptions about an individual and can so easily hide behind the anonymity of the internet when making such mean-spirited retorts. I knew it would happen here so Captain Dana, thanks for the laugh! To all the readers of this chain, I absolutely admit to being naive about our expectations from the Bahamian government. I choose to be optimistic and think the best of everyone. Perhaps that leads to greater disappointment, but I happily accept that. It's so much better than living a life of a curmudgeon, always paranoid making quick, harsh judgements. Don't you think?

Regarding the insurance claim and Yanmar - I agree we probably won't get help from Yanmar as it doesn't appear to be an engine issue as suggested. Of course, we don't hold Yanmar responsible at all in that case. Regarding Seaworthy though, they've already taken care of some huge expenses (at their cost, not ours) and keep in touch almost daily. The fact that they are taking care of the diagnostic and pulling the engine is also a huge help, and any help is better than none. Certainly until we pull the engine to understand cause, we am making no assumptions as to what we may pay out of our own pocket.

Regarding concerns over officials reading this. Yes, I did name a few individuals, but I've also taken up for the position on hiring local and for BASRA throughout this chain. As previously stated, I don't hold that entire group responsible for one bad member.

Jennifer
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Old 30-03-2013, 12:36   #65
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Re: sovereignty of Nassau, their laws, regulations and officials

Quote:
Originally Posted by svBeBe View Post
Nothing about this experience surprises me. All of us must obey the laws and policies of foreign governments and work with the officials who are charged to enforce the laws; and in my experience, those officials will work with you to bend the laws as long as they are treated with respect. The minute you disrespect them in any way, you will cause a problem for yourself and those people in your wake.

Unfortunately we have been in the wake of several official-bashers. Please try to leave a Cean Wake.

One more thing, this thread has been read by the officials you mention and I guaranty you that the next visitor with a similar issue will likely be treated worse.

Regarding the State Department,, it is not there to negotiate special treatment outside of the laws of Nassau. If you are jailed, they will help you find a lawyer. The State Department knows better than anyone contributing to this thread how important it is to respect the sovereignty of other countries and their laws and regulations.

I am truly sorry that you had this problem, but remember, your problem has impacted any of us that visit there.

Best,

Bill
Where, exactly, is the lack of respect? How didn't they respect the sovereignty of the Bahamas? Why the hostility your part?
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Old 30-03-2013, 12:47   #66
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Originally Posted by Svdestiny View Post

Where, exactly, is the lack of respect? How didn't they respect the sovereignty of the Bahamas? Why the hostility your part?
For a visitor to invite a commercial entity into the host country without the host country's expressed consent is disrespectful to the host country's sovereignty. To be anything other than properly contrite after having been caught doing so is disrespectful to the local authority and whatever happens after that is the host country official's prerogative.

Nobody I know would have gotten into that pickle and I pity the next American sailor who shows up in that office.

Finally, the original posting was so disrespectful of Nassau as to be slander. 'Extorsion'. Really?
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Old 30-03-2013, 13:36   #67
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Rich white Americans in their big yacht, appalled that the filthy peasants would try to make a buck off the insurance company!

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Old 30-03-2013, 13:45   #68
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Old 30-03-2013, 14:29   #69
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Re: Extortion in Nassau

Yes, GeorgeTown is called Chicken Harbor by everybody, isn't it? I suppose only by the ones that get past it now that I think of it.

About the post from Bill on svBeBe: I know exactly what he means and so does every long time cruiser as we indeed have all been in government offices witnessing this. I was not there in this case so can't say anything for sure about it but from what was posted here I do recognize the possible symptoms, like he did. Call it "profiling" or "quick to judge" but this is just an Internet forum, not a court of law.
Many new cruisers (from many countries but not from all countries strangely) can act like "arrogant, show the locals how it's done" types even if they do not realize this themselves. There need to be people like Bill (and now me I guess) who bluntly say this so that we all can stop and think about it now and then. I need to check myself too, we're all vulnerable to it.

Just think about this: many of us come from careers with education levels and salaries that don't even exist in many countries; don't think that they don't know that. We're quick to recognize where things can be improved, but we are not in any position to do this in their offices! We're just a foreign tourist that wants to enter their country and they must decide if they welcome us in or that we're such a pain that they better refuse us.

So, now that I've "done it and will be flamed for it", I can add the following points for all new cruisers reading this (not just for Bahamas, basically for anywhere):

- Women do not get the same level of emancipation in every country. If you can't live with that, do not go there. We have met boats where the wife handles all the officialdom so it is still possible, but know how it is and work with that. Start with explaining that you're the captain for example. That is often acceptable.

- When dealing with officials, shower, shave, long pants, sleeved shirts, long skirt/dress, sunglasses off, real shoes, no flipflops etc. etc. If you don't, you have already insulted them in many cases and it will end in disaster. I have seen this escalate into immediate deportation.

- Eye contact, introduce yourselves, offer a hand, SMILE, say "yes sir!" never "yo", "sure" or other "hood" language. Act like you are before a judge because you are being judged and profiled. Give a hand again when you leave. "thank you, have a nice day", smile etc. Personal contact and etiquette is very important in most countries.

- Never offer money to "fix" something: it can even lead to your arrest. In worst case, after a lot of talk and it has become clear something must happen, ask "how much money the fine would be" for your errors. Notice the different wording. In most cases they will tell you that this time a warning will do.

- Get that ships stamp and letterhead. Do not hesitate to print, sign and stamp documents about things like approvals for "crew to arrive at the airport and board your ship" etc. A document like that will make all the difference when the arriving crew shows that to the immigration official for explaining why there is no return ticket etc. We have also written recipes for pharmacies to get anti-biotics, pain killers etc. that we want to carry aboard. Write it like if you are the ships doctor because, you are and letters like that are mostly accepted.

- Find out the flag etiquette for the country you arrive in. Some will be insulted when you fly just the yellow Q flag. Others will be insulted when you fly a courtesy flag before being checked into their country. Don't tell them how it should be done, just do it the way they want it. Do not arrive without a flag or with a paper flag or something.
If you do not know what to do, hoist the Q-flag with the courtesy flag right under it and hope for the best. If you had it wrong, make a big thing of correcting it immediately, saying sorry etc.

- Check radio procedures. Many countries, harbors etc. require you to contact them on the VHF whenever entering or leaving a harbor. Switch that radio on way before you get there so that you can hear from others how it is done and then do it the same. Again, do not tell them how it should be done.

- Don't try to cheat with cruising permits, zarpes etc. Ask for receipts for all payments. You can show a print-out from Noonsite or a guide with costs etc. if you are unsure and want to discuss what they charge. Do not just say no or complain about it when you have no written documentation about it with you. Pay, get the receipt and come back with the documentation later.

- When you arrive in countries that speak another language, do not expect them to speak your language. Ask if they can speak English or explain your Spanish or whatever is really bad. Always greet them in their own language: learn that before arriving.
When, for example, a Spanish speaking official is dealing with an English speaking tourist, he/she might come over as angry and rude while he/she is just shy and very unsure about themselves speaking a language they are weak in. I always tell them that their English is better than my Spanish which helps a lot. Break the ice, again, smiles do 80% of the work.

Hope this helps
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Old 30-03-2013, 14:48   #70
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Re: Extortion in Nassau

I am not sure if there was any "extortion" involved at all from teh information posted. The Nassau tow company reportedly wanted $125/mile. The OP figured that out to have a total cost of $15K. So 15000/125 = 120 miles. NOTE--- THE TOW COMPANY MUST ONLY BE CHARGING ONE WAY!!!

Now back here in the friendly states, the land of milk & honey although some might say the land of booze and the horny. TowBoat US at Cape Coral charges $250/hour plus additional fees depending on the weather AND THE CHARGE BEGINS WHEN THEY LEAVE THEIR DOCK TO WHEN THEY RETURN TO THEIR DOCK. Seems fair to me. And there is nothing that I saw in their web site that stated these fees are fixed regardless of how far they need to travel to get the tow. They might not even want to go that far.

Now what speed does one want their boat towed at??? If it was me, I certainly would not like to get towed above 5K. The return tow at 5K will take 24 hours which in itself is $6K. But Towboat US charges an extra $50/hour between the sunset and sunrise. And of course there is also the weather to contend with that can add another $20-30/hour to the tow. So the factors can easily add another $k to the total charges raising it to $7K so far. Then there is the fee to just getting there from Cape Coral which could be in the $3K neighborhood.

I think it is unreasonable to expect any business to operate without a profit. So is $15K unreasonable???? Maybe, maybe not.

I owned a sailboat for 25 years and never ever thought of requesting a tow of any kind except help getting down a fairway and into my slip when I had engine failure.
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Old 30-03-2013, 15:06   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Yes, GeorgeTown is called Chicken Harbor by everybody, isn't it? I suppose only by the ones that get past it now that I think of it.

About the post from Bill on svBeBe: I know exactly what he means and so does every long time cruiser as we indeed have all been in government offices witnessing this. I was not there in this case so can't say anything for sure about it but from what was posted here I do recognize the possible symptoms, like he did. Call it "profiling" or "quick to judge" but this is just an Internet forum, not a court of law.
Many new cruisers (from many countries but not from all countries strangely) can act like "arrogant, show the locals how it's done" types even if they do not realize this themselves. There need to be people like Bill (and now me I guess) who bluntly say this so that we all can stop and think about it now and then. I need to check myself too, we're all vulnerable to it.

Just think about this: many of us come from careers with education levels and salaries that don't even exist in many countries; don't think that they don't know that. We're quick to recognize where things can be improved, but we are not in any position to do this in their offices! We're just a foreign tourist that wants to enter their country and they must decide if they welcome us in or that we're such a pain that they better refuse us.

So, now that I've "done it and will be flamed for it", I can add the following points for all new cruisers reading this (not just for Bahamas, basically for anywhere):

- Women do not get the same level of emancipation in every country. If you can't live with that, do not go there. We have met boats where the wife handles all the officialdom so it is still possible, but know how it is and work with that. Start with explaining that you're the captain for example. That is often acceptable.

- When dealing with officials, shower, shave, long pants, sleeved shirts, long skirt/dress, sunglasses off, real shoes, no flipflops etc. etc. If you don't, you have already insulted them in many cases and it will end in disaster. I have seen this escalate into immediate deportation.

- Eye contact, introduce yourselves, offer a hand, SMILE, say "yes sir!" never "yo", "sure" or other "hood" language. Act like you are before a judge because you are being judged and profiled. Give a hand again when you leave. "thank you, have a nice day", smile etc. Personal contact and etiquette is very important in most countries.

- Never offer money to "fix" something: it can even lead to your arrest. In worst case, after a lot of talk and it has become clear something must happen, ask "how much money the fine would be" for your errors. Notice the different wording. In most cases they will tell you that this time a warning will do.

- Get that ships stamp and letterhead. Do not hesitate to print, sign and stamp documents about things like approvals for "crew to arrive at the airport and board your ship" etc. A document like that will make all the difference when the arriving crew shows that to the immigration official for explaining why there is no return ticket etc. We have also written recipes for pharmacies to get anti-biotics, pain killers etc. that we want to carry aboard. Write it like if you are the ships doctor because, you are and letters like that are mostly accepted.

- Find out the flag etiquette for the country you arrive in. Some will be insulted when you fly just the yellow Q flag. Others will be insulted when you fly a courtesy flag before being checked into their country. Don't tell them how it should be done, just do it the way they want it. Do not arrive without a flag or with a paper flag or something.
If you do not know what to do, hoist the Q-flag with the courtesy flag right under it and hope for the best. If you had it wrong, make a big thing of correcting it immediately, saying sorry etc.

- Check radio procedures. Many countries, harbors etc. require you to contact them on the VHF whenever entering or leaving a harbor. Switch that radio on way before you get there so that you can hear from others how it is done and then do it the same. Again, do not tell them how it should be done.

- Don't try to cheat with cruising permits, zarpes etc. Ask for receipts for all payments. You can show a print-out from Noonsite or a guide with costs etc. if you are unsure and want to discuss what they charge. Do not just say no or complain about it when you have no written documentation about it with you. Pay, get the receipt and come back with the documentation later.

- When you arrive in countries that speak another language, do not expect them to speak your language. Ask if they can speak English or explain your Spanish or whatever is really bad. Always greet them in their own language: learn that before arriving.
When, for example, a Spanish speaking official is dealing with an English speaking tourist, he/she might come over as angry and rude while he/she is just shy and very unsure about themselves speaking a language they are weak in. I always tell them that their English is better than my Spanish which helps a lot. Break the ice, again, smiles do 80% of the work.

Hope this helps
Wise one you are in the ways of sailing.

All excellent points that you made and thank you. For the record, we did all of those things to the letter. Mike and I both were wearing business attire when meeting with the Department of Immigration, did shake hands, smile and were very respectful. Mike did most of the talking and acknowledged complete understanding of their position of which we were caught in the middle. Unfortunately at that point the decision seemed to be already made and we were caught in the middle.

I get that women don't get the same respect from many governments and accept it. For whatever reason, I just didn't expect it in the Bahamas.

Thanks again for the tips you posted here. I'm sure they will be helpful to many. It was posts like that helped us get started on our adventure from many helpful cruisers like you.

Jennifer
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Old 30-03-2013, 15:41   #72
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ex·tort (k-stôrt) tr.v. ex·tort·ed, ex·tort·ing, ex·torts To obtain from another by coercion or intimidation.

Pricing aside (which was absurdly higher than the contracted towboat), it was the Bahamian towboat Captain that somehow found out where we were, came directly to our boat through security under BASRA credentials and demanded immediate payment who we considered an extortionist. It didn't help that he told our claim rep that we wouldn't leave unless under his tow in earshot of us. (Note that he didn't say a Bahamian tow, he said his tow). I did not claim the Bhamian government to be extortionists, nor did I claim that BASRA was extorting. But Ian Gilbert of ABC Yacht Services was.
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Old 30-03-2013, 15:44   #73
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Old 30-03-2013, 16:20   #74
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Re: Extortion in Nassau

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
.....
Many new cruisers (from many countries but not from all countries strangely) can act like "arrogant, show the locals how it's done" types even if they do not realize this themselves. There need to be people like Bill (and now me I guess) who bluntly say this so that we all can stop and think about it now and then. I need to check myself too, we're all vulnerable to it.
Jedi, you telling people how it should be done - unthinkable!
Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
.....
- Women do not get the same level of emancipation in every country. If you can't live with that, do not go there. We have met boats where the wife handles all the officialdom so it is still possible, but know how it is and work with that. Start with explaining that you're the captain for example. That is often acceptable.
....
I have some good cruising friends where she is listed on the documentation and does all the clear-in/clear-out. All through Pacific Central America, etc. Of course, one of her worst check-ins was the US Customs in Puerto Rico. They are US documented.
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Old 30-03-2013, 16:54   #75
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Re: Extortion in Nassau

I would have to say it all come down to self reliance. Fix the engine or sail home!

Some friends of mine are tow boat captains, but honestly the waterways would be better places without the hand holding and inexperience weekend warriors running up on sandbars and taking unfit vessels offshore. Maybe Rand Paul can add this to his 2016 agenda. It must be constitutional to outlaw whining as well!
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