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Old 21-11-2012, 19:01   #16
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Re: You Thought Bundaberg Couldn't Get Worse . . .

Australia is the only country in the world to have completely wiped out an introduced species of shellfish which had the potential to cause havoc with the marine eco systems. The job was done by dilligence and application and resulted in a serious infestastion of the black lipped mussel, being completely and spectacularly wiped out from Oz waters.

Depending upon where you have been sailing, it is why the raw water inlets/outlets on your boat may be disinfected by Oz officials when you clear in.

AQIS (Australian Quarantine Inspection Service) do a good job. I remember a time in Darwin not so long ago when a boatload of illegal fishermen from Indonesia were found to have monkeys on board (for fresh meat). Someone shortly after reported seeing a monkey onshore. Australia does not have rabies and lots of other nasties which are present in SE Asia, and mobilised the Army, Airforce and Police Special Squads, to spend three weeks combing the area to find the animal.

Concern for our environment is why you may be a bit miffed when you discover that it can be difficult to bring Fluffy and Rover into Oz.
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Old 21-11-2012, 20:14   #17
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Re: You Thought Bundaberg Couldn't Get Worse . . .

I don't have a problem with the mission of AQIS, just the implementation.

Many of the rules are probably germane... perhaps even the basic termite search. However, please consider the following:

If your boat is Australian registered and you return from an offshore trip exceeding 3 months duration and that time was in an area that they consider to be infested with the termites in question, then you are required to immediately have the termite inspection. If you arrive at Bundy, this costs you on the order of a thousand dollars due to transportation costs for dog and handler. If the dog detects termites, fumigation is mandatory and can cost several thousands of dollars and have deleterious effects on your boat and your future health if you live aboard.

If your boat is foreign registered, it will receive a visual inspection on arrival, but the full on "dog" inspection is deferred for a year. During that year you are allowed to cruise at will in Australia.

I am unable to understand why the foreign yacht termites are not a hazard for that year. I am also unsure why the tons of timber dunnage present on the merchant ships that ply these waters aren't subjected to inspection. Many of these vessels lie for weeks close inshore awaiting cargo, and last I saw termites can fly.

Further examples of idiosyncratic approach to the mission: having unopened jars of S&W Mayonnaise confiscated because they contained egg... jars that had been purchased here in Australia a few months previously. Having unopened commercial honey confiscated one year with dire warnings about the dangers of some manner of bee virus. The next year honey was not of interest unless visible "bee parts" were present.

Finally, I object to the extortionate "overtime" charges for the inspection when out of 8-4, M-F. We got caught up in this once a few years ago and grudgingly paid up. I then asked the agents who did the inspection how they liked getting the extra pay for a Saturday callout. They replied that they got no overtime bonus... off hour shifts were just part of the job description. So, why must I pay extra??? 600 plus dollars is pretty steep for a process that takes less than an hour, even on Saturday, even in a "user pays" environment.

We obviously like Australia. We have been spending at least the cyclone seasons here since 1992, and enjoy the cruising and the people we've met. If we were not so old that we are not wanted as citizens we would pursue citizenship. I'm supportive of environmental protection when it is carried out reasonably, but I feel that this bureaucracy has gotten a bit out of control.

There! Rant over. We'll likely keep coming back...

Cheers

Jim
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Old 21-11-2012, 20:29   #18
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Re: You Thought Bundaberg Couldn't Get Worse . . .

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
I don't have a problem with the mission of AQIS, just the implementation.

Many of the rules are probably germane... perhaps even the basic termite search. However, please consider the following:

If your boat is Australian registered and you return from an offshore trip exceeding 3 months duration and that time was in an area that they consider to be infested with the termites in question, then you are required to immediately have the termite inspection. If you arrive at Bundy, this costs you on the order of a thousand dollars due to transportation costs for dog and handler. If the dog detects termites, fumigation is mandatory and can cost several thousands of dollars and have deleterious effects on your boat and your future health if you live aboard.

Cheers

Jim
Not entirely correct. Firstly AQUIS will do a risk assesment. If your boat hasn't a lot of timber in it's construction, is clean, they don't find any signs of bugs etc, then they can declare you a low risk, and you don't need the termite inspection. We were in Vanuatu for 4 months, and didn't need one.

Also, the dogs aren't mandatory for the inspection, There is an AQUIS apporved inspector at Bundaberg, who will do the inspection, if required, for around $700.


I do agree about foreign registered boats though - pretty weird they can stay for 12 months, termites or not. And can likely extend that to 3 years too.
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Old 21-11-2012, 20:37   #19
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Re: You Thought Bundaberg Couldn't Get Worse . . .

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Not entirely correct. Firstly AQUIS will do a risk assesment. If your boat hasn't a lot of timber in it's construction, is clean, they don't find any signs of bugs etc, then they can declare you a low risk, and you don't need the termite inspection. We were in Vanuatu for 4 months, and didn't need one.

Also, the dogs aren't mandatory for the inspection, There is an AQUIS apporved inspector at Bundaberg, who will do the inspection, if required, for around $700.


I do agree about foreign registered boats though - pretty weird they can stay for 12 months, termites or not. And can likely extend that to 3 years too.
Well, just last night I spoke to the skipper of teh Australian yacht Quinco, who just cleared in from Vanuatu. He was told that Vanuatu is NOT considered a high risk area and thus he was not subject to the mandatory inspection.

Another example of inconsistent behavior...

And I guess that a mere 700 bucks for a human inspector is indeed a bit better than the dog (with whom I can't communicate) at around a thousand.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 21-11-2012, 20:40   #20
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Re: You Thought Bundaberg Couldn't Get Worse . . .

Have you seen the price of dog food lately ?
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Old 21-11-2012, 21:30   #21
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Re: You Thought Bundaberg Couldn't Get Worse . . .

I agree Jim. Often it's up to discretion. I guess, as with many other 'advanced' nations the whole concept of user-pays has evolved to let's-make-a-profit.

And if planning a speedy exit, you can always pay by cheque.
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Old 22-11-2012, 03:50   #22
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Yes, we're a foreign vessel and just arrived in Bundaberg a week ago. But customs was great, friendly and the bio guy was also nice. We were afraid we would have a problem with all the baskets, mats, coconut hats, shells, etc but they only took our eggs. Being Americans of course they were interested in weapons, but both my Vanuatu bow and arrows and my very large pig killing club were not a problem. And we had joined the port2port rally and they refunded the $330!customs fees and gave us a free dinner.
So far OZ has been great!
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Old 22-11-2012, 12:52   #23
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Re: You Thought Bundaberg Couldn't Get Worse . . .

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Further examples of idiosyncratic approach to the mission: having unopened jars of S&W Mayonnaise confiscated because they contained egg... jars that had been purchased here in Australia a few months previously. Having unopened commercial honey confiscated one year with dire warnings about the dangers of some manner of bee virus. The next year honey was not of interest unless visible "bee parts" were present.

Finally, I object to the extortionate "overtime" charges for the inspection when out of 8-4, M-F. We got caught up in this once a few years ago and grudgingly paid up. I then asked the agents who did the inspection how they liked getting the extra pay for a Saturday callout. They replied that they got no overtime bonus... off hour shifts were just part of the job description. So, why must I pay extra??? 600 plus dollars is pretty steep for a process that takes less than an hour, even on Saturday, even in a "user pays" environment.

We obviously like Australia. We have been spending at least the cyclone seasons here since 1992, and enjoy the cruising and the people we've met. If we were not so old that we are not wanted as citizens we would pursue citizenship. I'm supportive of environmental protection when it is carried out reasonably, but I feel that this bureaucracy has gotten a bit out of control.

There! Rant over. We'll likely keep coming back...

Cheers

Jim
The AQUIS lady told us the mayonnaise rule has been eased somewhat. (Can't say for sure, we didn't have any on board.)

Honey must be a real issue, not just here but in New zealand too. Last night we had drinks with a couple who told us they had honey confiscated in New Zealand - unopened jars of New Zealand honey.

The double time on weekends thing isn't good. Fact is it can encourage skippers to make less than ideal decisions. A boat we travelled with a bit actually left Chesterfield reef on a tuesday in quite heavy weather, so they could get to Bundy by Friday. The better weather window was to leave on the thursday but that would have seen us most likely arrive on saturday afernoon. So we left on the friday, and slowed enough to arrive sunday evening.
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Old 24-11-2012, 04:09   #24
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Re: You Thought Bundaberg Couldn't Get Worse . . .

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Well, just last night I spoke to the skipper of teh Australian yacht Quinco, who just cleared in from Vanuatu. He was told that Vanuatu is NOT considered a high risk area and thus he was not subject to the mandatory inspection.

Another example of inconsistent behavior...

And I guess that a mere 700 bucks for a human inspector is indeed a bit better than the dog (with whom I can't communicate) at around a thousand.

Cheers,

Jim
Interesting that AQIS still insist on calling Vanuatu a no risk termite country. Aussie taxpayers, time to question your regulatory bodies competence.
BTW, NZ has the same border control and biosecurity issues as Oz but manages to process all visiting yachts at no cost. WTF???
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Old 24-11-2012, 12:38   #25
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Re: You Thought Bundaberg Couldn't Get Worse . . .

I don't like paying it either, but...

$330 for AQUIS, and foreign boats can stay up to 3 years. Or $200 to enter the P2P rally, and they pay your clearance costs.

Vanuatu cost us (approx) $66 for the first month, then $1.10 per day for "Port costs" (what ports?)
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Old 27-11-2012, 15:23   #26
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Re: You Thought Bundaberg Couldn't Get Worse . . .

44, tell us more (in a separate thread ) about yor rtrip to and from Vanuatu and what you did ther please.
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