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Old 07-07-2008, 14:05   #46
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Hey Hud just send ol Mr. Marcus this thread.
Personally I spend, as I'm sure do others, alot more money than the fees in the BVI and don't much care because I know it's going to locals. Anytime the government steps in with their greed depriving the locals, I step out.
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Old 07-07-2008, 14:14   #47
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St Maarten fees are not that high. For my boat ~60ft we paid a $60 bridge fee one way only to enter Simpson Bay Lagoon and $40 / week for being in the lagoon or Simpson Bay. The bridge fee was increased to obtain money to repair the bridge - apparently the bearings are bad. The bridge fee is dependent on LOA. These fee increases went into effect last Winter. This was a significant increase for the bridge passage and many who can now clear through the French side into the lagoon.
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Old 09-07-2008, 14:31   #48
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Well it appears (almost unbelievably) correct that the BVI government is determined to tax cruisers at the rates mentioned in the post regarding the new and exorbitant BVI waters and harbor fees.
See Below the reply to my questions regarding the authentication of the document circulating around.....


Dear Mr. Walsh,

Yes, the document in question is in fact a Government document. However, that document has since been amended. The collection of harbor charges will come into effect on July 15, 2008.

For further information regarding the collection process, please contact the BVI Ports Authority at telephone 284-494-3435 or Her Majesty's Customs at 284-494-3475.



Aisha F. Hill
Information Officer I
Ministry of Communications and Works
33 Admin Drive
Road Town, Tortola VG1110
British Virgin Islands
(284) 468-3058 (tel)
(284) 468-9525 (cell)
(284) 494-3873 (fax)
aihill@gov.vg
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Old 09-07-2008, 14:52   #49
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LBD---What Government document is Ms. Hill verifying for you? Do you have the actual document that outlines the fees? If so, could you please post it so that we all may see it?
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Old 09-07-2008, 17:06   #50
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Document link is on page one.
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Old 09-07-2008, 19:15   #51
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Angry

Well everyone, I have 3 weeks in January after my Christmas/New-Years guests leave so I ask myself, where should I head for the next haul out?? Does anyone have suggestions, down island maybe? and where?
We refugees of the BVI tax grabbers should perhaps start a new thread on where to head off too. Somewhere to spend our money where we feel more welcome and appreciated perhaps!
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Old 10-07-2008, 00:27   #52
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Last November, before the housing bust and outrageous gas prices slapped us in the face, we committed to buying our (new) dream boat. Her ex-factory date is just around the corner.

As US citizens we want to keep our boat US flagged, based in St Thomas, and yet enjoy the beauty of nearby BVI. It's bad enough what the airlines put us through just to get to St Thomas. I now hate flying, we have no other choice. We do have a choice where to sail our boat and spend our money. If these fees remain, We will absolutely boycott BVI. There are way too many other beautiful islands who will welcome our business. I am greatly disappointed...

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Old 10-07-2008, 02:32   #53
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Wow! What a bummer. Guess it's a good reason to sail beyond the BVI's and explore other areas. It'll certainly help out other Caribbean islands and give us a reason to explore beyond the normal BVI's. Sure gonna miss Foxy's and the Soggy Dollar Bar though. Maybe they'll get wind of it (pardon the pun) and set up franchises outside of the BVI's..,
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Old 10-07-2008, 04:25   #54
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There is a way around the new harbour fees. License your boat. Licensing requires that the boat meet certain standards, verified by inspection, and payment of a fee. The inspection could be waived in some circumstances, according to Capt. Sallah, head of the BVI agency responsible for licensing. He has only three inspectors.

I don't have all the specifics on this, and am basing my statements on several articles that I have read on the Internet, comments on other boards, and from information from Steve Black, of the Cruising Rally Association. Steve has been told that the licensing fee would be in the $200 range. Steve has been told that the Caribbean 1500 boats can be licensed prior to leaving the U.S. "Capt. Sallah said he was able to work with Mr. Black, arranging for inspection records and safety documents to be sent to the VISR in advance of the race, allowing it to prepare COIs and licences for the rally. “Exactly what happened in this case could happen for everybody,” he said."

Licensing would seem to be a good option for those who intend to keep their boats in the BVI, or who sail BVI waters regularly. For those who just visit for a week or two, or even a month, it seems like a lot of hassle.

Here's an article from today's (10th July) issue of the BVI Beacon.

The BVI Beacon
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Old 10-07-2008, 09:34   #55
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Here's some more from Steve Black on this issue, as quoted in Blue Water Sailing's e-newsletter Cruising Compass Presented by Blue Water Sailing (July 10, 2008 - Issue #100)

“There is a huge amount of misinformation being circulated because the rules have changed almost daily. Nothing has been charged yet. I have been communicating with the Premier’s office, with Tourism, the BVI Port Authority, VISR, and several marina operators.

This has been a real struggle for the various departments in the BVI. They have backed off with regard to the endless fees once proposed, because they realize how much it would negatively impact tourism. New regulations are still being written and they will be subject to change. The agency called ‘VI Ship Registry’ has been charged with issuing licenses to boats that don’t want to pay the 50 cents per foot/per day fee. Their fee may vary with size but at this time, its likely to be under $200 per year."
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Old 10-07-2008, 10:40   #56
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Licence?

Thanks for the suggestion Hud3. Steve Black is an excellent source of info and I've spoken with him on other topics and he has always been of great help.
Can you explain further what you mean by "Licensing in the BVI" and how you go about it. I've searched on the BVI government site and sent several emails to various people there to no avail. My boat is Canadian registered, sitting on Tortola and I would have no objection to buying a $200 license for the year to sail in the BVI but my understanding is that these proposed fees are to replace the old licensing fee system. If by licensing you mean to register a vessel in the BVI, I've heard that if your not a resident or "Belonger" you need to first register a corporation there and then hold the boat within that corporation. Of coarse, you can't simply do that yourself either, you need to hire an agent there to handle it and pay and pay and pay....
There seems to be so much different info flying around my head is spinning LOL
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Old 10-07-2008, 11:02   #57
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To the extent that anyone can understand what's going on here , my "understanding" is that Belongers can register, but anyone can license a yacht. The relevant agency is the Virgin Islands Ship Registry (VISR), headed up by Capt. Sallah. The licensing process includes a safety inspection, I'm told.

Here's the VISR website. Since I do not plan to register my boat, I haven't searched it for information. Good Luck, and let us know what you find out!

Virgin Islands Shipping Registry
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Old 10-07-2008, 11:19   #58
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I'm not sure how to parse the key sentence that appears in the BVI Bulletin's article:

"Only those vessels 51 percent or more owned by a VIslander, registered and flagged here, or licensed in the territory, are exempt from paying the fee, which goes into effect next Tuesday. "

Does "or licensed" means those "51% owned by a native AND [registered, or licensed]" or does it mean three totally separate things, i.e. those 51%, those registered, those licensed?

As I read it Capt. Sallah may be indulging in wishful interpretation of an unclearly written statue, and his superiors may clarify that, resulting in a slam to those who take the licensing as a way past the fees. Clarify--or chose to reinterpret, whichever gains them more revenue if their intent was not what he reads it as.

To properly and unambigiously write legislation that reads as Capt. Sallah thinks it reads, it would have been written similar to sections of the USC and CFR, i.e.:

"Only the following classes of vessels shall be exempted from paying this fee:
a) Those with 51% or greater share of native ownership...
b) Those registered...
c) those licensed...."

So there clearly were three distinct classes, as opposed to one class (51% owned) with two subsections (51% owned, and registered; 51% owned, and licensed).

But I admit, my BVIYnglitch is a bit rusty.
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Old 10-07-2008, 12:41   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
I'm not sure how to parse the key sentence that appears in the BVI Bulletin's article:

"Only those vessels 51 percent or more owned by a VIslander, registered and flagged here, or licensed in the territory, are exempt from paying the fee, which goes into effect next Tuesday. "

Does "or licensed" means those "51% owned by a native AND [registered, or licensed]" or does it mean three totally separate things, i.e. those 51%, those registered, those licensed?
Several people who have had direct communications with Capt. Sallah were told by the Captain that non-belongers could apply to have their private pleasure yachts "licensed", which process would take hours, not days, and they would then be exempt from the "Harbour Fees". The fee for the inspection and licensing would be in the $200-300 range.

A little levity from the BVI Beacon:
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Old 10-07-2008, 14:03   #60
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Captain Sallah - HELP !

Again, thank you Hud3.
You beat me to the punch on the cartoon from the Beacon. Seems like this is a topic of concern within the entire BVI sailing and business community's, as well it should be!
I just sent off an in depth email to Capt. Sallah explaining in detail the situation before me and I suspect many others. I have asked him to reply with instructions on how to actually go about this "Licensing" procedure and weather or not the Country of Registry of the vessel matters. This $200 licensing answer all sounds great in theory but its nowhere to be found on their VISR site or any other BVI government site that I've found. For me, its time to make plans around work and book flights so I need an answer and I have conveyed this to him.
I'll keep you all posted.
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