Originally Posted by GordMay
The UNCLOS convention has been ratified by 167 parties, including Mozambique (13 mars 1997).
Unfortunately, Gord, the local authorities do not know or care about such conventions and are simply looking for a quick buck. They would not have given an official receipt either. When this is attempted with us in Mozambique/Madagascar/Comoro Islands/Tanzania/Zanzibar/Kenya etc etc (and they have all tried at some time over the last 25 years) we pull out a video camera
and also insist on an official receipt. If they object to being filmed and still insist on the money we pull out a mobile phone
and advise them that we are calling their head
of department in the capital city. We also insist on seeing their identity. If none of these are forthcoming then we have advised them that they can retain our passports (after issuing a receipt) and that we shall then get our Embassy involved to resolve with their government
department. If they try insisting on keeping the passports without issuing receipts or proving their identity then we insist on calling the police.
At this point they realise that we are not simply going to roll over and pay them and usually burst into big smiles as they realise things could escalate and they shall end up in official trouble. We have been through all of these scenario's and in one instance all of them one after another. We maintain a non-aggressive position and keep smiling (barely concealed grimace) and have only once had to pay. Its all part of the game
We only paid once and that was in Morondava, Madagascar
in 1995 - long before mobile communications
existed. We had our visa'a, cruising permits etc but we still ended up being charged 'overtime' of several hundred dollars as they claimed it was their lunchtime. To show anger or frustration is the worst thing.
In Kenya we imported a new anchor
chain and altho' there was no duty to pay the smiling customs
official advised that he knew we needed the anchor
chain for our boat that we would have to pay him US$200 cash or he would ensure that paperwork was created that would keep our chain in the warehouse until a storage
fee was run up in excess of the $200. As we needed the chain and our weather
window was limited as we were headed to the Red Sea we were left with very little option. We later wrote and reported the matter to the Customs
but there was no evidence - therefore no case.
Going to Mayotte or Mauritius or Reunion etc and we have never been subject to such attempts. We have also transited the Red Sea several times and again have never been subject to such acts ('cept a couple of Suez Pilots trying it on).
However, to get things into true perspective, these incidents have been very, very rare and we are usually greeted with big welcoming smiles. We are reasonably well known in some ports
and will sometimes hand out small gifts (for their children!) of a biro or two etc.