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Old 06-02-2016, 05:10   #16
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Re: Customs Nightmares: Modern Day Blackbeards?

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
NJ, Charlotte, Heathrow (DHS) and Kharis..
They say the UK is a Sovereign Nation... yet French Customs stop you in Ashford, Kent.. and Yanks stop you at Heathrow...
Getting out of the UK is getting to be like leaving Wandsworth Prison on a day pass with the frickin EU on one side and Bludi DHS on the other
Funny isn't it how "globalization" at least in theory was supposed make these obsolete or not needed yet the very opposite happened. Oh, I forget it was only meant for the big money boys, not shlobs like us
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Old 06-02-2016, 05:24   #17
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Re: Customs Nightmares: Modern Day Blackbeards?

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===

Antigua requires a sense of humor in my experience, especially at English Harbour. As I recall they are one of the places that require 3 or 4 copies of an identical form to be completely filled out, apparently having never heard of carbon paper or copying machines. Then you are confronted with something like four service desks - customs, immigration, harbour master, and what ever. Each window has it's own set of questions, protocols, rubber stamps, etc. Sometimes one of the desks will be unmanned and you must wait for them to return. If you're really lucky one of the officers from another window will do double duty and move down but you can't count on it. The whole ordeal is just an amazing example of old world bureaucracy and inefficiency. For some reason Jolly Harbour did not seem as bad three years ago when we were there. We did have to wait for them to return from an extended lunch however.
I had similar problems in Cairo, although not related to customs/immigration. I was told by older residents that this is a way to provide jobs. So look at it from their point of view -- it's not inefficiency but an economic necessity.

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Old 06-02-2016, 07:16   #18
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Re: Customs Nightmares: Modern Day Blackbeards?

Well, add all these stories up and it reminds me why I don't want to go back to the Caribbean. Clear in / out 3 times per week

I really like the Med and especially the EU countries on it. Clear in in Malaga Spain and didn't have to worry about customs and immigration until we got to Greece 3 months later. Turkey uses agents also so it's painless at the expense of 100 euro. Croatia was expensive and somewhat rude but if you follow the rules they are ok.
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Old 06-02-2016, 07:56   #19
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Re: Customs Nightmares: Modern Day Blackbeards?

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Well, add all these stories up and it reminds me why I don't want to go back to the Caribbean. Clear in / out 3 times per week

I really like the Med and especially the EU countries on it. Clear in in Malaga Spain and didn't have to worry about customs and immigration until we got to Greece 3 months later. Turkey uses agents also so it's painless at the expense of 100 euro. Croatia was expensive and somewhat rude but if you follow the rules they are ok.
HUMMM -- I checked in to Turkey at Kusadasi last Oct and did not have to use an agent. I did to a bit of walking but no big issue as we walk a lot anyway and it cost us only the cruising paper we need to carry.

We did find Croatia that expensive when we checked in at Caveta it was 1,183K or 154EU or 172USD. But nothing to do with open palms just what the government charges.
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Old 06-02-2016, 09:07   #20
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Re: Customs Nightmares: Modern Day Blackbeards?

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Originally Posted by wayne.b View Post
===

Antigua requires a sense of humor in my experience, especially at English Harbour. As I recall they are one of the places that require 3 or 4 copies of an identical form to be completely filled out, apparently having never heard of carbon paper or copying machines. Then you are confronted with something like four service desks - customs, immigration, harbour master, and what ever. Each window has it's own set of questions, protocols, rubber stamps, etc. Sometimes one of the desks will be unmanned and you must wait for them to return. If you're really lucky one of the officers from another window will do double duty and move down but you can't count on it. The whole ordeal is just an amazing example of old world bureaucracy and inefficiency. For some reason Jolly Harbour did not seem as bad three years ago when we were there. We did have to wait for them to return from an extended lunch however.
We are renewing our USCG credentials. We have hand scrawled the same information on 5 forms each - to be mailed in collectively in the same envelope. Data requested on each form is identical to our original application 6 years ago - I checked the copies we kept. They ask for your SS number at least four places - noted as optional BUT they say that failure to include it may cause your application to be rejected. These forms, presumably, will be hand typed by a clerk in a green visor onto a TRS-80 keyboard and stored on an 8-inch floppy. The entire credential & documentation system should be entirely paperless and easily done from anywhere with updating of existing files only. The third world has no corner on inefficiency or bureaucracy.
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Old 06-02-2016, 09:15   #21
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Re: Customs Nightmares: Modern Day Blackbeards?

During an eleven year circumnavigation I never paid a bribe or was asked for a bribe by officials during check in or check out. Even when I sailed up the Red Sea, no bribes were asked for or paid. I did tip our Egyptian pilots when sailing through the Suez Canal which I felt was reasonable and we had uneventful trips and they kept us out of trouble.

Your demeanor when checking in and checking out may have some bearing as to whether people ask for money under the table. Avoid the appearance of arrogance or weakness when checking in or checking out, and things go smoothly in our experience.
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Old 06-02-2016, 09:24   #22
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Re: Customs Nightmares: Modern Day Blackbeards?

This is a subject and concern which has dwelled in the background of my mind as well. Particularly as we get closer to casting off for our ventures.
Seems it is getting more threatening not only more expensive to take up the sailing life. Not so much from common criminals but from sanctioned officials to where the lines are blurred.
This is a good subject line and the responses, encouraging. Attitude is most important when dealing with officials for sure.
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Old 06-02-2016, 09:36   #23
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Re: Customs Nightmares: Modern Day Blackbeards?

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Fatty has to fill a page with stories every month. If he runs out of true stories he still fills the page. Don't believe everything you read on the Internet or in a cruising magazine.
Roger that. Kind of like the old "Lat & Attit" mag's stories from master mariner teenagers. Treat them as fiction and enjoy them as such.
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Old 06-02-2016, 09:41   #24
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Re: Customs Nightmares: Modern Day Blackbeards?

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This is a subject and concern which has dwelled in the background of my mind as well. Particularly as we get closer to casting off for our ventures.
Seems it is getting more threatening not only more expensive to take up the sailing life. Not so much from common criminals but from sanctioned officials to where the lines are blurred.
This is a good subject line and the responses, encouraging. Attitude is most important when dealing with officials for sure.
Love this CF and read every day.
Of course, bribes are just tips from a third world point of view. Every culture has different customs and attitudes about tipping. What is funny is many of the countries where Americans get offended by demands for tips; those foreign folks would be greatly offended by having to tip waiters in America. In India, a lot of low level government officials need to supplement their meager incomes with tips. Its indeed a grave sin not to tip those folks.
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Old 06-02-2016, 09:47   #25
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Re: Customs Nightmares: Modern Day Blackbeards?

Funny to see the negative comments about Nevis, we have had some of our most pleasant check-in experiences there. A few weeks ago, I showed up at 15:55, to find that they closed at 16:00. All three officers (customs, immigration, port authority) voluntarily stayed past quitting time to complete our check-in. No overtime fees, just wanted to save me the hassle of returning the next day.

Our worst customs experiences BY FAR have been at the Miami airport.

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Old 06-02-2016, 09:53   #26
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pirate Re: Customs Nightmares: Modern Day Blackbeards?

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HUMMM -- I checked in to Turkey at Kusadasi last Oct and did not have to use an agent. I did to a bit of walking but no big issue as we walk a lot anyway and it cost us only the cruising paper we need to carry.

We did find Croatia that expensive when we checked in at Caveta it was 1,183K or 154EU or 172USD. But nothing to do with open palms just what the government charges.
Did all mine in the Kusadasi Marina office and one of the lads went on his scooter to get the passports stamped..
Same again clearing out.. brought everything stamped and signed to the boat..
Lovely people..
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Old 06-02-2016, 10:04   #27
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Re: Customs Nightmares: Modern Day Blackbeards?

For our new to us boat this fall we were using marine documentation service for closing so they handled the USCG documentation change, but it did seem to me like that expense was no different from needing to use an agent in some byzantine labyrinth of offices in a banana republic... so nope, other countries don't have the bureaucracy market cornered.

+1 for the TRS-80 reference

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We are renewing our USCG credentials. We have hand scrawled the same information on 5 forms each - to be mailed in collectively in the same envelope. Data requested on each form is identical to our original application 6 years ago - I checked the copies we kept. They ask for your SS number at least four places - noted as optional BUT they say that failure to include it may cause your application to be rejected. These forms, presumably, will be hand typed by a clerk in a green visor onto a TRS-80 keyboard and stored on an 8-inch floppy. The entire credential & documentation system should be entirely paperless and easily done from anywhere with updating of existing files only. The third world has no corner on inefficiency or bureaucracy.
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Old 06-02-2016, 10:31   #28
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Re: Customs Nightmares: Modern Day Blackbeards?

A few years ago, checking out of Mexico, we were offered forms to complete if we had received any poor experience at the hands of customs/immigration. I posted these back reporting a first class experience. Besides some officials in Madagascar (only in Morondava) and the port captain in Grand Comoro (Moroni) we have never really been hassled. The pilots going through the Suez also always try their luck but usually we do give them something small in way of recognition; they have not been aggresive or too pushy.
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Old 06-02-2016, 11:40   #29
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Re: Customs Nightmares: Modern Day Blackbeards?

In my experience it is cheaper to visit a corrupt country than to pay legal fees in say , UK, USA , Aussie. Stock up on Marlboro' ,Johnny Walker and US bills in duty free places and have a smooth passage. Especially thro' the Suez !
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Old 06-02-2016, 12:18   #30
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Re: Customs Nightmares: Modern Day Blackbeards?

Bar Harbor, ME has the most arrogant and inefficient CBP officials on the planet. We have successfully entered and cleared into innumerable ports in many countries during a cruising career that began in 1975. Our current s/v has used US Cruising Decals since 2011 without incident until last July 5 when we followed the exact procedure as laid down in our Decal documentation. After the usual questions of boat and crew we were told over the telephone that we "were good to go". Fine but 2 hours later we were boarded, searched and confined to port by 3 CBP officers that claimed that we had not cleared in. Mystified, we asked them to consult their fellow CBP officers who had cleared us in. They told us that this was not possible because "those officers were in Florida!". We were assessed a $5k fine and, although we have achieved some mitigation, and despite a number of appeals and FOIA requests, we cannot gain access to the telephone exchanges that would entitle us to be exonerated. We shall not ever make the mistake of a route plan that involves a Bar Harbor entry and US boaters should be wary of using Bar Harbor as a return port.
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