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Old 28-01-2008, 13:44   #1
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Cruising Restrictions in Fiji and Tonga

From today's 'Lectronic Latitude, comes word that Tonga and Fiji will restrict the amount of time visiting yachts may stay in-country.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"New Cruising Restrictions in Tonga and Fiji

"January 28, 2008 – South Pacific

" 'All is not well in the tropical paradises of Fiji and Tonga,' report John Kelly and Linda Keigher and of San Francisco-based Sirena 38 Hawkeye. 'Both countries have now instituted severe restrictions on the time that a foreign vessel can remain in the country.

" 'According to a 1988 regulation, yachts visiting Tonga were limited to a 12-month stay. However, this rule had never been enforced — in fact, there are actually boats here that have been here for 17 years! . . . ' "


Tonga has long been popular with cruisers.
© 2008 Webb Logg

For the rest of the story, go to:

Latitude 38 - The West's Premier Sailing & Marine Magazine

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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Old 28-01-2008, 15:25   #2
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MAN, that does irritate me. Like I said before, by the time I actually get my boat, all of the great spots and laws in place will be so bad that I can only enjoy my boat in my back yard. And even then, I will be fined for illegal additions to the house without a permit..

Oh well..
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Old 27-02-2008, 15:09   #3
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Not as bad as it may seem!

Hello.

The reported new visiting restrictions of 6 months to a year in Tonga doesn't appear to be too awful. (And it's bound to change again in a couple of years!)

Once you're there and are pleasant and patient (very) with custom's guys life will be OK. They are a good crowd really and not out to get us unless we get pushy with them.

The 'agents' could be tougher to deal with if they are the greedy sort. A good big fish often smooths problems out though. (There are plenty to be had just off the islands in deep water!)

Fiji's 6 months is a little tighter, but even so, it shouldn't be enough to put people off the visit.

We sailed and worked in Vava'u between '89 and 2000. It was not without some frustrations (and life in the main towns has changed a great deal ,in some ways, since) but the essential good nature of the Tongan people is still there - just perhaps a little harder to get to now that there are so many more of us palangis there.

Good luck, good sailing and 'ofa atu.

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Old 27-02-2008, 16:07   #4
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Talau - welcome to the forum! Nice and informative first post!!! Hope for many more.

I would like to suggest that you take a moment or two to fill in a bit of info on your profile (PROFILE in blue banner top right above - then on the left side, click on edit profile). This gives all of us a little insight into who you are, and perhaps where you've been. It also would be helpful, if you had questions, for those who would answer your questions to be able to form their responses to your specifics.

It is all optional. (I tend to use these 'opportunities' to promote using the PROFILE for all those that don't - not just YOU!)
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Old 28-02-2008, 09:58   #5
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Thanks

Thanks for welcome! Have added a few details.
Best wishes.
P.S. That's our old boat behind the palm frond in the Tonga picture. You can just see the varnished ketch rig and a bit of the aft awning!
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Old 28-02-2008, 11:49   #6
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Fret not my friend. One thing that is certain and unchanging in the SoPac islands.......CHANGE . I can tell you with 100% certainty that the law will change over time. It may get worse, it may get better but for sure....it WILL change.

I spent several years in Tonga and Fiji. I loved Tonga so much that I tried to open a business there in '87-'88. There were no dry-cleaning services there at the time and everyone wore a suite on Sunday and many people wore dry cleanable clothes during the week. I spent a lot of time and $ to get something going.

In the middle of my effort, the government passed a law that any and all businesses in Tonga must be 60% owned by a Tongan citizen. I'm no fool, so I left. Shortly after I left, the King's son opened a dry cleaning business....in the same building that I was arranging to lease. That's what I get for talking to him about it, over a beer on his island (Tongatapu).

Anyway........I think that one concern of the Tongan government is that too many boats are staying over during hurricane season. A few years back they were hit pretty hard and a lot of foreign vessels ended up on shore (or on the bottom)....totalled. The owner's abandoned the wreckage and the government ended up with a mess.

This is a growing (understandable) concern in all tropical areas. Even US insurance companies have stipulations about coverage in tropical areas. This problem is not unique to the Islands. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if, at some point, these countries start requiring a vessel to have insurance and sign over that country as beneficiary during the vessel's stay.

I know that in French Polynesia, they used to kick all visiting vessels out of the country during hurricane season. I don't know if they still do that but I know that they did.

If you plan on cruising, get used to the fact that you are at the mercy of any nation's laws that you visit. Also be aware that those laws are subject to change while you are in that country and you may not like it but can do little about it. BTW.....this applies to visitors to the US as well.

In fact, the US is one of the worst places in the world to cruise for visitors and cirizens alike. There are hardly any places left that you can actually drop the hook, much less spend a week or two. It's just that the islands are starting to feel the same effects of increased traffic that the US has felt for years.

I hate to say it but cruising yachts have caused these situations. Not everyone but enough irresponsible people to make a difference. I think that the cruising community should take a bigger roll in policing their own to hold off some of the measures that some countries feel compelled to impliment.
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Old 28-02-2008, 12:37   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kanani View Post
Fret not my friend. One thing that is certain and unchanging in the SoPac islands.......CHANGE . I can tell you with 100% certainty that the law will change over time. It may get worse, it may get better but for sure....it WILL change.

I spent several years in Tonga and Fiji. I loved Tonga so much that I tried to open a business there in '87-'88. There were no dry-cleaning services there at the time and everyone wore a suite on Sunday and many people wore dry cleanable clothes during the week. I spent a lot of time and $ to get something going.

In the middle of my effort, the government passed a law that any and all businesses in Tonga must be 60% owned by a Tongan citizen. I'm no fool, so I left. Shortly after I left, the King's son opened a dry cleaning business....in the same building that I was arranging to lease. That's what I get for talking to him about it, over a beer on his island (Tongatapu).

Anyway........I think that one concern of the Tongan government is that too many boats are staying over during hurricane season. A few years back they were hit pretty hard and a lot of foreign vessels ended up on shore (or on the bottom)....totalled. The owner's abandoned the wreckage and the government ended up with a mess.

This is a growing (understandable) concern in all tropical areas. Even US insurance companies have stipulations about coverage in tropical areas. This problem is not unique to the Islands. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if, at some point, these countries start requiring a vessel to have insurance and sign over that country as beneficiary during the vessel's stay.

I know that in French Polynesia, they used to kick all visiting vessels out of the country during hurricane season. I don't know if they still do that but I know that they did.

If you plan on cruising, get used to the fact that you are at the mercy of any nation's laws that you visit. Also be aware that those laws are subject to change while you are in that country and you may not like it but can do little about it. BTW.....this applies to visitors to the US as well.

In fact, the US is one of the worst places in the world to cruise for visitors and cirizens alike. There are hardly any places left that you can actually drop the hook, much less spend a week or two. It's just that the islands are starting to feel the same effects of increased traffic that the US has felt for years.

I hate to say it but cruising yachts have caused these situations. Not everyone but enough irresponsible people to make a difference. I think that the cruising community should take a bigger roll in policing their own to hold off some of the measures that some countries feel compelled to impliment.
Exaclty. The people who are cruising and are irresponsible now are the ones "ruining it for the rest of us", as I said in that thread a while back. The "Clean Wake" philosophy is more important than ever if we wish to retain our rights. Every time we bump into the government, you can be sure there will be a new restrction set up on cruising.

To all:

Preserve our freedom by making sure you (and people you know) are responsible with their boats.
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Old 14-03-2008, 17:44   #8
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No mention of Fiji. Whats the deal there?
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Old 14-03-2008, 18:26   #9
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Originally Posted by Louis Riel View Post
No mention of Fiji. Whats the deal there?
Brent
This is the operative section from the 'Lectronic Latitude article in re: Fiji.

"Things are even more restrictive in Fiji, where the 'Interim' military government — the democratically elected government was removed from office during a military coup in December of 2006, the fourth such coup in 20 years — announced that visiting yachts may not stay more than three months in the country. An extension of three months may be granted upon written application to the government. These restrictions are being appealed. We are not optimistic of the outcome, since the Minister of Finance publicly announced recently that the new restrictions were partly the result of illegal behavior by visiting yachts, including drug-dealing, prostitution, and smuggling that has cost the country millions of dollars in lost revenue'! This gratuitous slur on the yachting community did not sit well with the yachts affected, and Linda and I are seriously reconsidering our plans to visit Fiji in the near future.

"Both of these countries [Fiji and Tonga] are economically depressed, particularly Fiji, where the EU, New Zealand and Australian governments have all imposed economic sanctions following the military coup. These sanctions have greatly reduced the number of tourists visiting the islands. Since both countries are desperate for tourist dollars, it is a mystery why they would choose to restrict visiting yachts in this manner. We cruisers are also tourists and bring much needed revenue to these and other countries that we visit."

* * * * *

For the full article, go to:

Latitude 38 - The West's Premier Sailing & Marine Magazine
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Old 17-03-2008, 15:58   #10
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cruising restrictions tonga fiji

Mbula vinaka!

I am not a fan of the cruising restrictions which pop up here and there (though which generally fade away again -in Pacific countries at least - only resurge and metamorphose some years later!) nonetheless...

...three months in Fiji is not all bad!

In fact, if you are 'shooting through" in one season from Panama to NZ or Oz then you are unlikely to have the luxury of one month, let alone three in Fiji that year. (OK, it rules out staying on board for hurricane season. I wonder if you can still leave your boat there if you depart the country...?)

If you are coming up from Kiwi or Oz at the start of the season, you've still got Tonga and the whole of Vanuatu and New Cal so you won't exactly be bored even if 'only' in Fiji for 3 months.

So it's not so bleak after all! Hey! You could be in the Hawaiian anchorages being moved on every 72 hours !

I feel that Latitude 38 has, since I first read a copy in the mid 80s, altered their original cruising outlook to a sort of disgruntled pseudo-corporate stance where the editors and many a reader appear to take umbridge terribly easily regarding all sorts of things happening a lot of sea miles distant. It's a shame because it probably puts a lot of people off or puts them on the defensive immediately upon arrival in these areas. Plus, the rules will probably have changed by the time they get there. anyway.

I concur that we as cruisers should tread lightly in terms of our cruising 'footprint' both ecologically and culturally. However we should also guard against the feeling that cash-strapped island nations should be grateful for us turning up to spend our money on their shores. They are often not of the same opinion! As visitors and guests we are not so precious a commodity as to put any nation in our debt. Therefore we should not expect special dispensations as our due.

Wishing you Fairwinds and Fun in Fiji!
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