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Old 01-08-2013, 14:44   #1
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Australian Customs etc

G 'day Sailors, Does anyone have recent experience with entering Australia, East coast , from overseas , eg New Caledonia ?
We are planning a passage Aus. / N C and return and have read some horror stories about re-entry to Aus.
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Old 01-08-2013, 15:05   #2
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Re: Australian Customs etc

My impression is you are Australian. Right?

I don't know why clearance procedures would be any different from anyone else, but suspect you may have an easier go of it than foreign boats. If not, satisfying procedural expectations even for foreign boats is not hard.

There is probably still an expectation you will notify immigration/customs by phone, email or in writing 72 hours in advance of your expected arrival in Australian waters. You can show more than 72 hours after they've received your notice, but not before. It took me 7 days from New Caledonia on my first passage, nearly twice that on my second. No problem. You are expected to have an approved anti foulant. It can be a very expensive proposition if you don't. Normal documents expected to be in your possession including clearance from last port. Confirm there have not been recent changes and you should be good.

Also, on both occasions when I cleared into Australia certain foods were confiscated. Anything that can seed, including beans. Canned Spam if from anywhere but Australia and maybe New Zealand.

As always, things having to do with immigration/customs anywhere can change with relatively short notice. So, check to make sure nothing has changed. An arrest record can cause real problems, unless you can prove there is no 'character issue'.
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Old 01-08-2013, 15:18   #3
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Re: Australian Customs etc

actually due to the large amount of aussies returning to australia in boats they have bought overseas the customs are super alert to these new arrivals,and it is good to have a customs agent on a retainer if you are importing the boat.

foreign yachts arriving that are tempory residents don't raise any flags,as long as they have reported their arrival,have e-visas,no pets etc
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Old 01-08-2013, 15:18   #4
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Re: Australian Customs etc

I think horror stories might be an exaggeration. Always found them friendly and professional. Try transiting through the USA, hours in lines, retina scan and fingerprinting... big brother at work .

Most issues involve the Quarantine guys and not customs. The biggest gripe with Quarantine is they charge $300 (approximately). Don't try and enter after hours or on the weekend they charge double.

If you have a wooden boat they are going to do a very thorough search for termites.

Scrub your hull before leaving New Caledonia because they will require it to be clean. Throw out any fresh meat, cheese, eggs and vegetables etc. Fish you caught is ok and cans are ok. Do not arrive with bags of garbage as this might piss them off. They will also check any carvings you may have and woven mats etc. If they find pin holes in carvings they will assume bugs and carvings will be destroyed. With woven mats you put them in a garbage bag and spray them with bug spray before arrival and bang out any dust, crap and eggs.

Do not try to enter Australia if you have a wooden boat infested with termites, it will be at minimum refused entry or you have to get expensive fumigation done.

Make sure you give them the required notice.

I have entered Oz from PNG on three occasions and there has been no issues. I have only entered through Cairns and Townsville.

Again I am no expert just relating my experience as crew.
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Old 01-08-2013, 15:33   #5
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Re: Australian Customs etc

We entered through Bundaberg last year. Customs and AQUIS were friendly and professional. There were no problems whatsoever.

However, WE were also friendly and professional in our attitude and our preparation. The boat was clean, we had almost no fresh food left on board, and we were helpful in allowing them to do their job.

I think the "horror stories" come from people who try to make their jobs less pleasant.

It's very important to make sure you notify ACS of your impending arrival well in advance though. 96 hours is the MINIMUM, unless you voyage is shorter than that, but you can notify them well ahead of that. And do it by E-mail, and keep a copy of their receipt of the notification.

information for yachts travelling to australia - let us know you're coming
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Old 01-08-2013, 15:39   #6
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Re: Australian Customs etc

Actually, guys, unless the regulations have changed since April, the rules for Australians registered vessels coming back to Australia after more than 3 months do have a stricter Quarantine deal, in that they may be required to immediately fumigate their boat if they have spent more than 3 months in countries where there are termites. This is a bit ironic since Australia has plenty of termites of its own, but it is the law. It has happened that an AQIS officer had a financial arrangement with a fumigation company and told a cruiser he had to hire that company; but in fact, by law, you are allowed to select a fumigator of your own choice, as long as the company is appropriately licensed. Having to haul out immediately on arrival is sometimes difficult. I don't know whether that source of delay may lead to fines.

To the OP:
I'd suggest that you go onto the AQIS website, and download all the regulations, and print those suckers out. You'll become the new expert, and also be able to work out what you need to do when they come visually inspect your boat. AQIS has been in a period of empire building, and the rules do change frequently. Something to remember is to try to time your passage so that you arrive at your port of entry between 9AM and 3 PM on Monday through Friday in order to avoid overtime fees.

Good luck on this.

Ann
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Old 01-08-2013, 15:41   #7
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Re: Australian Customs etc

Quote:
Originally Posted by giant View Post
................Do not arrive with bags of garbage as this might piss them off. .....
Disagree with this. If you arrive with no garbage they're going to wonder what you did with it. We found them perfectly happy to take our garbage away fro incineration.
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Old 01-08-2013, 15:52   #8
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Re: Australian Customs etc

Non-Australians will no doubt dial into this discussion. Australian law does not require that you purchase travel insurance. It is only recommended. I share this because when I obtained my visa in New Caledonia I was told I had to purchase this insurance and was provided several names of insurance companies. Only after I'd paid $100/month for about 4 months did I cease to pay, because my payments were not debited from my credit card as expected. This was not something I expected was automatically done. It was after I emailed explicit authorizations each time payment was due. Just didn't get done. It wasn't until I was told they couldn't accept payment until past due amounts were paid I learned about this. Under these circumstances I just quit making payments. Only learned upon application for a visa extension later on this insurance was not mandatory. Was not an issue.
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Old 04-08-2013, 02:02   #9
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Re: Australian Customs etc

Many thanks for relating your experiences . Yes, I am Aussie. During my last RTW , I must say that USA and UK authorities were the best to deal with, and no backsheesh !!
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Old 04-08-2013, 03:45   #10
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pirate Re: Australian Customs etc

Arrived in Darwin last year on a 54ft steel boat with a entire wood interior... Customs were great and apart from finding a false floor filled with foam in the bilges that got them a bit excited, no issues... The quarantine guy was friendly enough even if he did clear us out of most of our food... joked about him maybe owning a restaurant... which was taken in good humour and the termite inspection was deferred till the boat got to Perth.. the end destination... and we were allowed ashore.
Only weird bit was if we wanted to enter the marina we'd need a lift and inspection... but anchoring off was no problem...
Something to do with Zebra's....
Had heard all the tales so trepidation ruled but they were great... and reported our arrival in advance to the cheerful chappies who gave us a fly over and chat every day from the Straits onwards...
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Old 04-08-2013, 05:57   #11
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Re: Australian Customs etc

I came from Fiji in a Cat from the USA in November 2011.

I arrived in Bundaberg, Not Hassles what so ever, The gladly took my little bag of rubbish off for me,
I had to wait for them to turn up, Not allowed off the boat till they did, Customs, Immigration, AQIS, Change of ownership, Registration, GST Payment on Boat, Etc Etc Etc. all done at once,

Very Pleasant all round,

I had basically no vegies left, My long life milk they left me with, Bought in Vanuatu, but manufactured in NZ, And Pauls in Brisbane, Its nice milk for long life, You can actually drink it straight, chilled,

Left me with all my canned food, They grabbed a necklace of beads hanging on the wall, Came from Tahiti, Been on the boat for years,

They are nothing like the Stormtroopers I had heard to expect,

They spent about 2 hours doing the wood work over for Termites,

We in OZ are riddled with Termites, They are every where,

But not Termites like their looking for, Those are really nasty little bugs, There are a lot of other bugs that they are looking for as well,

I had a Victorian Boat Licence, And I registered my boat in Victoria as well,

Just give them a minimum 3 days notice, 7 days is okay as well. you are a sail boat,
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:17   #12
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Re: Australian Customs etc

Most of the horror stories about the Aus customs etc have come from that appalling rag over here which was put out by a bloke who seemed to have a serious agenda about the authorities. He printed anything that he could which put them in a bad light. It was a free magazine and even then you were overcharged unless you enjoyed constant whining.

Coops.
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:54   #13
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Re: Australian Customs etc

That rag was a weird sence of authority bashing...


However the Bunderburg guys were off the rails at the time. (2007-2008)

I spoke to one Customs person in Sydney who did a course that include the Bunderberg guys and they were quite intimidating even to the other customs people!

I think the situation was resolved by sending one to Alice Springs international airdrome; one to Christmas Island and one to the Antatrtic.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:54   #14
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Re: Australian Customs etc

I have only exited once by boat. but travelled through aussie customs multiple times in the last few years.

My tip is to "Declare declare declare". Always Declare! Once you hide something they will make your life a misery. If you declare everything from a mars bar to antibiotics and have it handy for them- no problem.

Have any fresh food ready for them to dispose of and any prescription drugs ready for them to inspect. Half the time they wont bother you much as long as you are seen to be doing the right thing.
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:11   #15
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Re: Australian Customs etc

I know of a boat that cooked some of their food believing it would be exempt from seizure.

Ha!

Customs took it anyway.
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