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
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.