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Old 10-01-2011, 14:21   #1
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Clearance Certificate for a French Flagged Boat

Hi all,

Can anyone tell me what is involed in getting a clearance certificate (or what ever the French call it) f=to certify the removal of a French flag from a boat?
I'm told I need this to register the boat as an Australian ship.
Also would I be alowed to sail from one French territory Island to another whilst the process is happening or is the boat locked up in port so to speak?
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Old 10-01-2011, 14:35   #2
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I was not aware of that being necessary... I was under the impression that origonal papers were automatically sent by the broker to the appropriate Agencies... it took over 6 weeks coz everything had to go back to France then come back out stamped... these are then passed over on closing the deal
Thats what happened when I bought a boat French side St Martin.... thats why they get a fee... to supposedly clear the road..
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Old 10-01-2011, 14:44   #3
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I was looking into purchasing a French yacht a while ago and it was suggested,don't remember by who, that I should obtain, excuse spelling!
'Acte de francisation-titre de navigation' from customs, declaring all liens are released. Hope this helps you more than confuses !!! Bruce.
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Old 10-01-2011, 15:06   #4
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Thanks for the advice, 6 weeks that doesn’t sound good.
As I’m buying direct from a charter company, unfortunately I don’t have the luxury of a broker to organize these things for me.
I guess I’ll have to start pushing them to have that ready when the final payment is made.
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Old 10-01-2011, 15:12   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon Lady View Post
Thanks for the advice, 6 weeks that doesn’t sound good.
As I’m buying direct from a charter company, unfortunately I don’t have the luxury of a broker to organize these things for me.
I guess I’ll have to start pushing them to have that ready when the final payment is made.
If they're a french/any company they should do that for you by law... if the boats on their books, don't see the difference... have you asked them.
Moorings de-flagged a US boat for me in the BVI's
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Old 10-01-2011, 15:29   #6
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I just had a look at my boat paperwork as it was originally French registered.

From the date of the sale, it took a month before the "certificat de radiation de pavillon" (certificate of deletion flag) was completed. The deregistration happened in August so it is possible that the French bureaucrats were working at a slower pace than usual.
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Old 10-01-2011, 15:44   #7
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Quote:
I'm told I need this to register the boat as an Australian ship.
Exactly correct. You need the release to prove the boat is not stolen.

It should be a condition to the sale in your contract - period. Without this done properly you can never "own" the boat. Let's just say the French like to be particular with the paperwork. The word "bureaucrat" is French for a reason. The Napoleonic code is the basis for much of French law. "Paperwork matters" sums it up best. It is more important than you are - don't doubt it.

This is true with all boat purchases no matter if it is French or otherwise. The traditions of the sea require this be performed properly lest stolen boats be easily registered.
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Old 02-02-2011, 17:28   #8
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For arguments sake lets say my boat as part of a previous purchase has been deflagged by the French and shown as "signed over" to a US citzen but never got registered in their name ion the US or anywhere (how to prove? )as they did not complete the purchase . he had made a pre purchase deal that boat would be deflagged before he would purchase.So boat is now without flag and the boat only has affidavit that the US citizen has no interest in the boat .
Can I reregister the boat in my name after purchase and flag with the French using the affidavit ?
Will I only need to check for liens in France or also with USGC ?
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Old 03-02-2011, 04:55   #9
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For arguments sake lets say my boat as part of a previous purchase has been deflagged by the French and shown as "signed over" to a US citzen but never got registered in their name ion the US or anywhere (how to prove? )as they did not complete the purchase . he had made a pre purchase deal that boat would be deflagged before he would purchase.So boat is now without flag and the boat only has affidavit that the US citizen has no interest in the boat .
Can I reregister the boat in my name after purchase and flag with the French using the affidavit ?
Will I only need to check for liens in France or also with USGC ?
Hi Adax... sounds a bit weird to me... de-flagging normally takes place automatically on sale and is handled by the broker... involves sending everything back to France for clearance.
If you will have the original decommissioning certificate from France... that should give details of any liens on the boat.. the broker should be holding this document... also the aforementioned Affidavit everything should be fine... getting her registered/re-flagged in France may be difficult.. unless your a citizen
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Old 03-02-2011, 05:30   #10
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The " certificat de radiation de pavillon" is a deflagging cert, which is different from the "Acte de francisation-titre de navigation" with is a custons cert saying that the boat can be exported with any tax liens.

IN the case of Adax, assuming you comply with the requirnments for French flagging, all you need is (a) VAT document, invoice etc, all the sale agreements that pertain to teh boat over its life, a CE conformance document, if the boat was built after 1995 ( or any second hand boat imported since of any age) and a deflagging cert. Irrespective of the flag that the boat Was, this is whats needed

PS just sold my boat in france this year, paperwork matters.

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Old 03-02-2011, 05:36   #11
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A title mess in a French based country might be the worst title nightmare you ever saw. You need to be specific in the purchase contract with a date certain that the title is to be proven clear. You can never retitle the boat until the original title is clear.

As noted above registering in the US or France is not possible unless you are a citizen or a corporation. You will register the title eventually as you would any boat you purchased and in any appropriate way but the sorting out of the current title is the whole exercise that could frustrate you to death and you could have a lot of money in limbo.

Until you have a title in your name your money is at risk 100% because you don't own the boat. Paying for it means nothing as does a bill of sale. You really would be better off making sure you have an escrow account in a third party that can refund the purchase should the title mess not be cleared up to complete satisfaction by a date certain.

Handing over any money any other way would be ill-advised. No broker can clear up a title mess but they could hold your money forever saying they are working on it.
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:42   #12
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Pblais, I dont follow you here,

From my experience of selling a boat to a French National, Title per say is not difficult. The French merely require a letter showing deflagging and then is mostly VAT and CE conformance. They are not that anal about anything else.

Also "proving title" is a very difficult thing to do, Flag registration in itself is not a guarantee and that is defintely not the case in the UK using the SSR. AT the end of the day all you have from the owner is his registration documents and deflagging cert/letter and a bill of sail. Theres really nothing more available then that. Youre describing a process that is impossible

Most vendors will not deflag a boat nor not submit to a clause that makes the sale subject to reflagging in the owners register why, becuase (a) it could legally transfer ownership without money being paid and (b) Boats are basically sold as seen. Its a simple case of caveat emptor, if you dont like it dont buy it.

Sure you can use ESCROW, but its a mess in a foreign country. I sold my boat to a french national, there was no deflagging or anything until I got all my money end of story. Equally I made it clear that I was not responsible for the ability of the buyer to flag the boat nor was the sale subject to that. He and teh selling broker had to satisfy themselves that they had sufficient documentation to do so, before purchase.

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Old 03-02-2011, 08:45   #13
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I woke up this morning with exactly the same doubts as you PBlais. It sounds straight forward and if teh contradictions were within Brit common law countries ,let´s say boat Brit buyer US the affidavit part would worry me less. Having experienced napoleonic law both in Germany and Mexico it can be a nightmare .I will get more info on what the papers are exactly they have and then post again .
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Old 03-02-2011, 09:10   #14
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Napoleonic law just adds a lot of paperwork because the records are more important than the task. You can expect some time delays even when things go as expected. If there is question about the title going in you can expect a lot of hassle getting out. Purchase contracts are for the title not the boat. Your ability to title the boat after the sale is predicated on a clear title at the time of the sale. Getting stuck in between is bad. For the most part you have no control over clearing the title yourself.

Dave, you obviously had the title in good order before you sold it. Of course sales over seas go on all the time, but we have had horror stories here in the past about problems. Having a screwed up title is hard to manage far away from the location of residence. It adds great expense suddenly when you expect none. Most people can't afford to sit around for weeks waiting in some port far away.
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Old 03-02-2011, 11:07   #15
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Napoleonic law just adds a lot of paperwork because the records are more important than the task.
Really Pblais, this is somewhat ridiculous comment to make. My experience is the UK is far stricter on paperwork then France and the world leader in bureaucracy has to be the US in my perspective. Registration offices in Toulon for instances will accept PDF,s or photocopies, try that with teh Brits!

Pleasure registration in many countries is distinct from full ships registration and is mainly to bring you into the tax net.

For example in France when registering a pleasure boat , title is not a big confirm, VAT CE and deflagging is, but reregistering is accepted once the buyer and seller agree. "Proving title" is not required, nor without the existence of a worlwide database is it possible, all you can do is decide that teh usual documents are OK and go from there. In any asset purchase there is always the problem of really determining title. ( in fact in any sale, witness the caveats and get outs in a company sale for instance).

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