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Old 01-03-2014, 20:05   #1
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Troubling Experience Today with Bahamas Customs

As well known by most cruisers of The Bahamas, and as publicized on websites such as noonsite, cruisers have been able to import parts duty free for their boats as long as they showed a valid cruising permit. Technically speaking, this exemption is authorized by the Tariff Amendment Act (2009) . A copy of this law can be found at http://www.bhahotels.com/images/docs...t-act-2009.pdf.
The specific language of the exemption is "Parts for temporary cruising vessels imported in respect of vessels in The Bahamas under a temporary cruising permit in Form No. C-39 issued under the Customs Regulations."
Today, on a flight arriving at Nassau international airport, I brought in with me a tow line for my tender and other boat parts. I was assessed about $1100 for the duty. I was told that the exemption only applies to "engines and propulsion systems."
I protested and asked to speak to a supervisor. Apparently I was not the first person who had complained to him. He was familiar with the statute but stated that the customs department had interpreted the words "parts" to include only engines and propulsion systems. I asked him for the authority for the regulation and he was unable to provide me with an answer.
I will visit the administrative office on Monday and attempt to resolve the issue. I have reviewed all of the regulations publicized by the Ministry of Finance and have not found any regulation interpreting the statute in the manner stated by the supervisor.
I will inform the forum.
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Old 01-03-2014, 20:21   #2
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Re: Troubling experience today with Bahamas customs

please keep us informed. i only had to import a part once - a fresh water pump on the engine - and did not pay customs fees. but it was handled by a boat yard so don't know if that made a difference.
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Old 01-03-2014, 20:46   #3
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Re: Troubling experience today with Bahamas customs

yes I have had no problems before importing even at the same airport two months ago. something is going on. I will also ask my contacts in the department
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Old 01-03-2014, 22:39   #4
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Re: Troubling experience today with Bahamas customs

A tow line for your dinghy had an $1100 tax?

Wow.
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Old 01-03-2014, 22:44   #5
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Re: Troubling experience today with Bahamas customs

you should have told them it was the spare engine "PULL START" rope......not the "TOW LINE"...........
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Old 01-03-2014, 22:49   #6
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Re: Troubling experience today with Bahamas customs

You may be pushing a bit. I don't know what other "parts" you had but tow lines can be purchased in the Bahamas, and that's probably their stance.
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Old 01-03-2014, 23:11   #7
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Re: Troubling experience today with Bahamas customs

Quote:
Originally Posted by dohenyboy View Post
As well known by most cruisers of The Bahamas, and as publicized on websites such as noonsite, cruisers have been able to import parts duty free for their boats as long as they showed a valid cruising permit. Technically speaking, this exemption is authorized by the Tariff Amendment Act (2009) . A copy of this law can be found at http://www.bhahotels.com/images/docs...t-act-2009.pdf.
The specific language of the exemption is "Parts for temporary cruising vessels imported in respect of vessels in The Bahamas under a temporary cruising permit in Form No. C-39 issued under the Customs Regulations."
Today, on a flight arriving at Nassau international airport, I brought in with me a tow line for my tender and other boat parts. I was assessed about $1100 for the duty. I was told that the exemption only applies to "engines and propulsion systems."
I protested and asked to speak to a supervisor. Apparently I was not the first person who had complained to him. He was familiar with the statute but stated that the customs department had interpreted the words "parts" to include only engines and propulsion systems. I asked him for the authority for the regulation and he was unable to provide me with an answer.
I will visit the administrative office on Monday and attempt to resolve the issue. I have reviewed all of the regulations publicized by the Ministry of Finance and have not found any regulation interpreting the statute in the manner stated by the supervisor.
I will inform the forum.
You've omitted one very crucial disclosure from your post that prevents us from reasonable comments. You said a tow line and "other boat parts". Well, that other boat parts can include a lot of things and exactly what they are is quite relevant to their determination. For instance a new bimini top is not something that would be duty free.
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Old 02-03-2014, 08:55   #8
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Re: Troubling experience today with Bahamas customs

Yes, please do be more specific on "other boat parts".
By your post you make it sound that they were insignificant since you only mention a tow line. How that led to the fee you describe is very concerning.
Also what is the Duty in the Bahamas regarding percentage?
I will be bringing "boat parts" to George Town in a few weeks and your experience would be most helpful.
Thank you for your time.
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Old 02-03-2014, 09:05   #9
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Re: Troubling experience today with Bahamas customs

As of December 2013, cruising visitors with a valid Bahamas Temporary Cruising Permit are still allowed to import boat repair/replacements parts for engines DUTY FREE.
In addition, there is a 10% duty on printed matter and original artwork. This policy is subject to change.
Call Bahamas Entry Checking in Nassau Harbour Office at 322-8791 to get the up-to-date policy.

Customs Information - Bahamas and U.S.
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Old 02-03-2014, 09:48   #10
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Troubling experience today with Bahamas customs

The tow line value was $1700 and the duty on rope is 45%. This was the majority of the duty. There was deck hardware, plumbing parts and fittings and such. In addition there was $80.00 of personal clothing dutied at 10% because I had bought it that day and had not worn it yet. There is a $100 exemption of goods which was applied.
I acknowledge Mr. May's link referring to the exemption applying only to engine parts. This link does verify the statements made to me by customs, but is contrary to the information on noonsite and other cruising sites and the Tariff Act. To date, no one has been able to direct me to the regulations which supposedly modify the law. The law exempts all boat parts. The law appears to be interpreted to cover only engines and propulsion systems.
The minister of finance, as far as i have seen, is not entitled to modify schedule fourth of the tariff act in which the exemption is contained.
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Old 02-03-2014, 09:49   #11
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Troubling experience today with Bahamas customs

There is a tariff schedule but I do not have it handy. Tariffs can be up to 45%.
And as far as the bimini top, why isn't this a boat part? The purpose of the law is to not impose duty on items which will not remain in the country. A boat with a temporary cruising permit by definition will leave with all the parts, such as a bimini top, on board, in fact, the law exempts many non-marine items brought in for temporary importation if you apply for permission ahead of time.
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Old 02-03-2014, 10:25   #12
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Re: Troubling experience today with Bahamas customs

To update, there was a new Tariff Act promulgated in 2013, as well as a new Tariff Schedule.
9829.0070 of the Tariff Schedule 2013 exempts "Parts for temporary cruising vessels imported under a temporary cruising permit (Form No. C-39)
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Old 02-03-2014, 11:12   #13
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Re: Troubling experience today with Bahamas customs

Quote:
Originally Posted by dohenyboy View Post
There is a tariff schedule but I do not have it handy. Tariffs can be up to 45%.
And as far as the bimini top, why isn't this a boat part? The purpose of the law is to not impose duty on items which will not remain in the country. A boat with a temporary cruising permit by definition will leave with all the parts, such as a bimini top, on board, in fact, the law exempts many non-marine items brought in for temporary importation if you apply for permission ahead of time.
It's not a replacement part. It doesn't fix something. It is something.
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Old 02-03-2014, 11:14   #14
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Re: Troubling experience today with Bahamas customs

Thank you for your response however how is a tow line valued at $1700???
Unless you are using Vectran, Aramid or some other high tech line for "towing"?
Also I guess you could have a very large boat.
Anyway I need to bring in a hatch cover replacement for a Lewmar hatch which would be a safety issue if I did not replace it.
Need to get my boat to Bermuda so a water tight hatch would be nice :-)
Do you think that will have any significance in their world?
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Old 02-03-2014, 11:52   #15
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Re: Troubling experience today with Bahamas customs

Ah but the law does not say "replacement part." It says, a part.
A part can be anything affixed on the boat and possibly anything used on the boat. Boat parts.
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