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Old 03-04-2012, 22:50   #76
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

Bobconnie and Geoduck: Chill. Don't call anyone 'wrong'. That's not nice. Many of us have done the west coast San Diego - Cabo and back many times over many years. Hundreds of boats for certain. We know of what we speak. We were not 'getting away with it.' It was S.O.P. It may have changed recently, and of that we should be aware.

Last time up the Port Captain in Cabo was locking up an hour early when I got there. When I said I needed a clearance he said "You don't need one. Tell whoever asks that I said so." It was normal to clear out of Cabo for Ensenada. Then simply skip Ensenada. Nobody cared. Not in the U.S. Not in Mexico. You could turn around and go right back, no problemo. There must be more story for anyone to end up in jail.

When I got to San Diego the customs agents on the dock had some guy in a big powerboat in handcuffs. They waved us off. Said we didn't need to clear in. We didn't even tie up to the dock. Went straight to SDYC for drinks. That's how serious the paperwork was...

Go ahead and bang your heads...
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Old 03-04-2012, 23:45   #77
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

My Mexican experience outside Isla Mujeres was that I simply was never asked for a zarpe when coming from the USA--it was NOT that I was asked for a zarpe and then let slide with a fuel receipt. The latter did happen to me when I checked into St Lucia from St Croix.
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Old 04-04-2012, 00:31   #78
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

If the owners of the impounded vessel have not yet contacted the nearest US Embassy, they should. Our State Dept takes it very seriously when people are treated differently when arriving in a foreign country. We must (of course) obey the laws of each country we visit, but the rules must be the same and must be enforced uniformly. If the owners of the impounded vessel have direct knowledge of others arriving in Mexico (any port) with just fuel receipts or marina receipts serving as zarpe and being accepted by the Mexican officials as such, then the US State Dept will not be happy with the manner in which they have been treated.

IMHO, they brought this problem on themselves because they did not bother to get the CBP form 1300. We've seen it before with cruisers who ask around with other cruisers; get the answer they like; and use that as fact. Rather than doing their own research with official websites and learning the real rules.

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Old 04-04-2012, 07:37   #79
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

It cracks me up! You guys arent listening! Zarpe's have been around for ever - to be CORRECT - you need it. I never said you may be asked for it! Mexican officialdom changes with the tide. I havent been to Mexico with a boat since '99 but prior to that I have made many trips in & out with my own boats and others - my 1st trip was in 1966. Since then I have made 14 deliveries from various ports back to the States not counting my own boat trips. I lived down there for awhile - our family had a place down there for 35 years! I think I know a little about what I'm talking about!
If you dont believe the part about being locked up over night (1979) just change captains in mid stream without signing on & off your document or having crew not listed properly and depending on the mood the aduano is in, you might get to enjoy free overnight accomodations - or longer - too! It is rather embarrassing to be told to leave the country and do not stop anywhere else because of screwed up paperwork - this happened when I was crew on a 75' fishing trawler that we brought around from Florida.
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:05   #80
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

Mexican law is that all visiting vessels are required to have a zarpe........again it's up to the port captain on how strictly it's enforced. Get a zarpe, port captains change and then laws that have never been enforced in an area suddenly are!!
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:11   #81
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

This is what Hud said in 2008 so its been here before.
A Zarpe is simply an outbound clearance document, obtained from customs/immigration officials when you depart from a country that you have been visiting. The Hispanic nations use that term. The English islands use the term "outbound clearance". In any case, you will need the piece of paper when you clear in to the next country. It doesn't contain much info for a cruising sailboat. You're traveling "in ballast", i.e. not transporting goods or passengers.

Edit: many of the Hispanic countries require you to clear in at each port within the country and obtain a zarpe before leaving for the next in-country port. Check Noonsite: The global site for cruising sailors for clearance info by country
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:43   #82
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

Quote:
Originally Posted by svBeBe View Post
If the owners of the impounded vessel have not yet contacted the nearest US Embassy, they should. Our State Dept takes it very seriously when people are treated differently when arriving in a foreign country. We must (of course) obey the laws of each country we visit, but the rules must be the same and must be enforced uniformly. If the owners of the impounded vessel have direct knowledge of others arriving in Mexico (any port) with just fuel receipts or marina receipts serving as zarpe and being accepted by the Mexican officials as such, then the US State Dept will not be happy with the manner in which they have been treated.............
Please help me to understand something here (remembering I am from the other side of the earth and not up to speed with your local conditions).

Why would Mexico care if the US State Dept is happy or not? And why would the US State Dept go around sticking its nose in another countries business unless of course that country was treating an US citizen illegally (with respect to the local laws). Surely it is not illegal if a Port Captain decides for whatever reason, not to enforce a particular requirement on one day and then enforce at another time (say perhaps from the direction of someone more senior). I grant this may be unfair and perhaps even immoral but surely not illegal.
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:53   #83
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

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Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
Please help me to understand something here (remembering I am from the other side of the earth and not up to speed with your local conditions).

Why would Mexico care if the US State Dept is happy or not? And why would the US State Dept go around sticking its nose in another countries business unless of course that country was treating an US citizen illegally (with respect to the local laws). Surely it is not illegal if a Port Captain decides for whatever reason, not to enforce a particular requirement on one day and then enforce at another time (say perhaps from the direction of someone more senior). I grant this may be unfair and perhaps even immoral but surely not illegal.
Exactly!
The point is - do it right the 1st time and do it right ALL the time and you wont have your boat impounded!
The personality of a port captain has a direct connection with YOUR personality - dont forget that!
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:14   #84
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

If you've ever sailed around the Caribbean, where you can easily clear in and out of two or three countries per week, you'll realize that all the indignation being expressed in this thread about Customs & Immigration agents not treating visitors fairly, equally, and "by the book" is wasted energy. The experiences can be remarkably random, for better or worse. The best advice, given by some previous posters, is to remain calm, smile, be polite and compliant. Dress properly, bring your own pen for filling out forms, and go with the flow.

Oh, and don't forget your outbound clearance (zarpe) from your last port of call!
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:17   #85
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

I am going to have to weigh in here to clear up some "facts" that may have gotten twisted around. I was the next boat to clear into Isla after this happened. I met these people and know their story. They never intended to stop in Mexico when they left Key West. These guys were bound for Livingston Guatemala, and no you do not need a Zarpe to clear into Livingston if you are coming from the U.S.. It was the medical examiner who claimed that he had seen them walking around several days prior, "eating tacos". They had just done a rough four day passage against the gulf stream in a very small boat. If they had not stopped they would have been sailing into the 20-25 knot southeast headwinds that we had for the next three days. The real reason they stopped here though is because a crew member that they had aboard wanted off. I notified the U.S. consular by e-mail the next day so yes they are aware of the situation. The fact is is that these guys did show up looking pretty "rough around the edges" and that the medical examiner here doesn't seem to care for "gringos" and I believe that it was him that got these guys into a world of trouble.
We cleared in without an agent but next time I clear in here I will use an agent. This same medical examiner required us to get fumigated which cost us more than the agent would have charged. We watched other boats clear in with an agent that had been in the same places we had and they didn't need to get fumigated. The officials here would obviously prefer us to use an agent. If you are coming here, just pull into El Milagro marina or Paraiso Marina, they both monitor vhf 13. for an extra $30. U.S. Julio or Chepo will have all of the officials come to you, make any extra copies and make sure everything goes smoothly.
For all of you saying that it must have been their fault or that there must be more to the story, there is really not. The Mexican navy searched the boat, with a dog, found nothing. But apparently once the navy confiscates a boat, there is nothing that the port captain or customs can do about it. Also remember that the thing about Mexico is that you never can get a straight answer as to what the regulations are and what is required. You will always get an answer but never the same answer. Plus, unless you are completely fluent in Mexican Spanish, who are you going to ask anyway?
A boat came in here the other day that had a Zarpe from Honduras heading to Key West. The agent typed up a nice official looking letter stating the reasons that they put in here and there was no problem. I think that the lesson here is that it is better to use an agent to clear in here, especially if there might be a discrepancy.
For all of you sitting around saying "this will never happen to me because I always follow the rules" or whatever, what are you going to do if your Zarpe says one thing and you are forced to go somewhere else? Or if you don't get a fair shake? Or an official doesn't like you. If you don't have anything pertinent to add to this discussion, Butt out, or I won't like you.
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:24   #86
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

Uh huh. The real story leaks out. They would have had trouble with or without a Zarpe. They apparently were "eating tacos" instead of checking in.

Or maybe what Thumbs Up wrote just isn't clear. Which won't help the Zarpe narrative.
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:30   #87
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Thumbs up Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

No daddle, That is what the medical examiner said. They were still slogging against the gulf stream when he said they were eating tacos. Are you trying to be sarcastic? I am putting you on my "do not like list"
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:01   #88
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

Well, there's only one solution. We invade Mexico, declare it conquered, let them sue for peace and that also legalizes the million Mexicans who broke into the US solving another domestic problem for both sides.

And it also ends the "Mexican" drug crime problems, which become US domestic problems once the war is over.

Leaving only the question of whether we take Mexico as a war prize and call it an "insular possession" like Puerto Rico, or how long we wait to let them vote for statehood.
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:43   #89
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

Everyone please remember that in Mexico you are guilty until proven innocent. If you are accused of something then you DID IT. It is up to you to prove you didn't. An accusation given by a Medical examiner will be very hard to disprove, even if they were at sea at the time they were seen what written evidence do they have to prove where they were. This is they way the law works in Mexico. I have 23 years living here and know how it works.
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:47   #90
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

would a GPS track hold up in the mexican court?
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