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Old 16-01-2014, 16:29   #211
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Re: Impounded boats in Mexico

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Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post
CelestialSailor,

When you received your first TIP, how did you return the required copies of the "signed promise" on the back of the TIP, the boat's documentation paper, and your passport? That is, did you try the option to email it to itvbanjercito.mx.com as I did? Or did you mail in to them?

Thanks!
As I remember, the options were to mail it in or when checking in at Ensenada to do it there which was also a Banjercito. I showed them all my paperwork and was stamped through.
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Old 16-01-2014, 17:07   #212
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When we drove across the border at Tijuana 2 years ago, we got the "random" green light, but they waved us over to Aduana (customs) anyway.
We had to unload everything onto the ground and wait about half an hour while they were searching vehicles. We had our TIP with us because we were concerned about the outboard we were bringing down to replace the one that had been stolen. Once it was our turn, they gave a cursory glance at all of our personal belongings; clothes, sleeping bags, food, pillows, books, outboard, etc. and told us we were ok to load it back up and keep going. The interesting thing was that all of the vehicles pulled over to Aduana except one were heavily loaded. The lady in the vehicle next to us had cartons and cartons of cigarettes hidden in her personal belongings. They were all confiscated and she was fined. The next day they wanted us to unload the whole vehicle again at one of the military checkpoints. I gave them a great big smile and told them in Spanish that we had already unloaded it at Aduana in Tijuana and they let us continue without having to unload it. I have driven, sailed, flown (commercial and private plane), walked, and taken the bus into Mexico. I love Mexico and can't wait to go back, but I won't sail my boat there again until they make it clear that I won't be held hostage due to incompetent, heavy-handed, bureaucratic blundering.
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Old 17-01-2014, 13:44   #213
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Re: Impounded boats in Mexico

A friend of ours, Rick on SV La Vita who had is boat on the "bad list" posted this update this morning on the Yahoo Southbound Net. It sure looks like things are heading in the right dirction and this nightmare is almost over! If you have questions for Rick, click on his blog at the bottom and send him an email. He's a great guy and I'm sure won't have any problems sharing his first hand information.



"Previously I heard that boats in Marina Vallarta have been released as
have been the boats in Opequimar and also those in Neuevo Vallarts.
Paradise Village was NOT inspected.

Here in La Cruz only 5 or 6 boats truly have a problem. The rest (us
included) have proven that there is NO problem. (This info came from
both the marina attorney AND from the SAT personnel who were here
yesterday (and perhaps again today) to work with those who have actual
problems - everyone was quite nice/easy to work with to get the info -
NO hassels - lack of prompt/adequate info as to what was happening and
us understanding what was happening are the biggest problems I think)
Essentially, we are free to go about our business as it was explained to
me. Personally, I take that to mean we can go for a daysail, go to the
yard, and maybe even anchor out for a while. We might even be able to
leave the area and continue on or even leave the country. However, we
are personally going to stay close for now. My advise is to check
directly with the marina office to get the best possible info.

We asked for and received a copy of what our "problem" was. Basicaly,
originally they didn't have any info but the boat name when they walked
the dock. The second time through they checked the paperwork and the HIN
and also took a photo of the HIN. Problem solved at that time for us.
Apparently the 2nd time through confirmed there were some issues for a
few people and these are now being worked through. When all is finished,
if you ask for it, you should be able to get something in writing (copy)
that tells anyone there is not a problem if it should come up again in
the future. We will ask for it and then put it with the their other
document that we received so that it is a complete record if there are
any questions in the future based on this incident.

For La Cruz, this ALMOST puts an end to it. I expect to get the final
word within a few days. Right now, I think most of us are breathing a
bit easier.

Rick

S/V La Vita
1987 Hans Christian 33T
: La Vita On The Sea

Currently: Lying La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Nayarit, Mexico"
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Old 18-01-2014, 15:11   #214
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Re: Impounded boats in Mexico

From latitude 38 1/17/14:

The Dreadful Impoundment Fiasco In Mexico Endures

January 17, 2014 Selected Marinas in Mexico

Despite the fervent wishes of almost everyone, most of the 338 foreign owned boats impounded in eight Mexican marinas as a result of AGACE actions in late November are still impounded. The sad fact is that most of these boats have been absolutely legal all along.

A couple of days ago, an insider in the marine industry in Mexico told us that our catamaran Profligate, which is on the list of impounded boats, was all good and didn't have any problems with AGACE. So when the AGACE agents came to our marina yesterday, Dona de Mallorca asked them about the boat's status. The pleasant AGACE agent looked into the files and said, "There are no problems with your boat."

"Great," said de Mallorca, "she's free to go?"

"No," replied the AGACE agent, "she's still impounded." He refused to say why or when she'll be released. It's our understanding that there are 47 other fully compliant boats in our marina in the same preposterous situation.

This is not good, Mexico. Not good at all.

Last night a boat owner with a boat impounded in a Baja marina called our office and asked what we thought of her and her husband leaving in the middle of the night on their boat and trying to flee back to freedom in the United States. She said that the impoundment of their boat had destroyed their cruising dream. They just wanted to get back to the States and sell their boat. She said there was another boat impounded in the same marina whose owner was also done with cruising before he started because of the ruthless actions of AGACE.

Our advice was to hang tight. Some impounded boats have been released, and it appears that many more will be soon. If someone gets caught trying to escape back to the United States and we're told that some have already been successful you could find yourself in big trouble in a country where you don't speak the language and the law is slow and murky. And if they did flee, they should probably be very hesitant to ever return to Mexico by boat although it's unlikely either of these owners will ever want to do that again.

As infuriating as this horrible episode has been, we'd also encourage these owners not to give up their cruising dreams just yet. The impounding of boats in Mexico has been the biggest national nautical brain fart that we can recall and we've been publishing Latitude for 36 years. The self-destructive stupidity of the process is simply unprecedented.

It's worth noting that three of the owner/mangers of the largest marinas in Mexico, two of whose marinas have been hit by AGACE, and one whose marina has not, said they believe it's extremely unlikely there will be any similar raids until AGACE's policies and procedures have been completely revamped. They all cite the same reason: the terrible damage to Mexico's international reputation, particularly in the nautical tourism sector.

Just so everyone's clear, we have no problem whatsoever with Mexico making sure that all boats have the necessary papers, that nobody is cheating on taxes, and that none of the boats are stolen. But currently there are severe impediments. One is that the laws are very unclear. For example, we asked the manager of one of the biggest port-of-entry marinas in Mexico whether zarpes from the US are required. He said he didn't know that part of Mexican law. If he didn't, how is a first-time visitor to Mexico supposed to know? And we bet 99% of people including port captains don't know the law either. According to Neil Shroyer of Marina de La Paz, who tends to be an expert on such things, you either need a zarpe from the US or a notarized letter stating, under penalty of perjury, that you came from the US. Not that we've ever been asked for either in all the years we've come to Mexico.

As much as we support Mexico's goals of collecting taxes owed and apprehending stolen boats, the fact remains that these goals could have been quickly and easily achieved without the need for armed marines, the threats to marine businesses, boats being impounded, boat owners feeling compelled to flee the country, and tens of millions of dollars worth of negative publicity being rained down on Mexico. All it would have taken is for AGACE to announce that they were going to be at such and such a marina on such and such a day to make sure all boats were compliant by producing documents A through H, and that either the owner or his authorized representative needed to be on site to facilitate the process. And that when found to be in compliance, each boat would be given a sticker. It could have been so easy instead of so draconian.

One thing that's become clear from our conversations with marina managers and owners, is that AGACE procedures and policies were different depending on where the AGACE agents came from and what marinas they were visiting. The marinas in Ensenada were visited by agents from Tijuana; the marinas at Los Cabos and San Carlos were visited by agents from Mexico City; the marinas in the Vallarta area were visited by agents from Zupopan/Guadalajara. In some places, agents never even bothered looking at or going on boats, they just wanted to check the paperwork. In other places, if you weren't on your boat when they visited to show them around, your boat was as good as impounded.

It doesn't help that Mexican law is so vague and so few people know or understand it. For example, a small but vocal group out of the Vallarta YC have made the claim that each boat owner is responsible for making sure that the office of the marina he's in has a copy of all his paperwork. Leaving aside the question of how a boat owner can possibly be held responsible for the doings of the marina office, the manager of one of the biggest and glossiest marinas in Mexico emphatically insisted that his marina is under no legal obligation to have anyone's documents. Mind you, he's had very little problem with AGACE.

There has also been the question of whether not having a TIP is like a fix-it ticket in the United States. The owner of one marina says you have up to 10 days to get one after being found without one, and there is no fine. The manager of another marina says he can't find that in law. But as a practical matter, the manager of yet a third marina said that boats that didn't have TIPs in his marina were able to get them within 10 days, and they didn't even end up on the impound list!

Mexican also has a nagging problem with requiring things that are impossible to do. For example, in the early days of getting a TIP online, the software program prompted the TIP applicant to identify what kind of boat they had. But the program only listed the names of a few powerboats. So applicants were left to either select the name of a boat they didn't own, or not get a TIP. Such problems are rife throughout the Mexican bureaucracy. Here's another example: We recently bought a car in Arizona and legally imported it into Mexico. The final two steps in the process are going to Tepic to get a document transferred from Nogales so we could pick up the license plates in Mezcales. Mexican law says we have seven days from the time we crossed the border to the time we put the plates on the car. Well, it's been about three weeks now, and Nogales still hasn't gotten the papers to Tepic about 200 miles from where we are so we can take them to Mezcales to get the plates. Whose fault is it that we are illegal and have to go around with 200 pesos notes in our pockets in case we're stopped for 'driving while gringo'?

Want more? Tax laws were dramatically changed in Mexico as of the first of the year, so the Mexican IRS has been holding meetings all over the country to explain them. Those who have been to the meetings say people left with more questions than they had before the meeting. The one thing they did come away with is that everybody who has any kind of business, or rents any rooms in their residence, has to have a Mexican IRS identity number and keep records of all debits and credits. The identity number can only be obtained on the Mexican IRS website. Alas, the website doesn't work.

The truth is that Mexico is going to have to get its laws and bureaucracy together before it can emerge from the Third World. And until it gets those acts together, it is in its own best interest to refrain from coming down so hard on so many innocent people particularly we nautical tourists, who are typically among the country's best ambassadors. Mexico needs to release all compliant boats immediately, and then start the long road back to making amends with foreign boat owners and investors.

- latitude / richard


Hmmm
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Old 18-01-2014, 15:30   #215
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Re: Impounded boats in Mexico

Although I like Lat 38 and support their efforts, I have to say they are becoming over the top just as AGACE has. Prior to this incident of impounding boats, if anyone wrote into Latitude 38 with a story of another countries bureaucracy causing them to give up cruising and sell their boat, well...Lat 38 would have just laughed at them. Come on...if waiting a month in a country were it's over 70 degrees all year round and you get your feathers ruffled?
I also wonder if Lat 38 would be making the stink they are if their boat had not been impounded.
Later in the rant, Richard goes on and on about all the Mexican bureaucracy. It's been that way forever. Certainly since Richard has been voyaging south. He always use to talked it up and minimized any irregularities. I'm just concered that Richards good intentions might turn around to bite him in the arse latter.
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Old 18-01-2014, 18:42   #216
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Re: Impounded boats in Mexico

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Originally Posted by Celestialsailor View Post
I also wonder if Lat 38 would be making the stink they are if their boat had not been impounded.
Later in the rant, Richard goes on and on about all the Mexican bureaucracy. It's been that way forever. Certainly since Richard has been voyaging south. He always use to talked it up and minimized any irregularities. I'm just concered that Richards good intentions might turn around to bite him in the arse latter.
Me too!
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Old 18-01-2014, 23:33   #217
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Re: Impounded boats in Mexico

When I had my boat in Medregal, Venezuela, she w with a few another boat was impounded by customs. The Marina owner got tired of paying endless bribes, so the came one day and 'wallpapered' the boats with absentee owners like myself. I also sold the boat and flew down with the new owner. neither the new owner or I were concerned about. We cruised the coast for a week, had a wonderful time and just simply sailed north to St Martin without clearing out. I think the boat had been back to Venezuela, but unlikely the would uncover anything in that biurocratic mess. I doubt it if there ever had any file
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Old 19-01-2014, 04:33   #218
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Re: Impounded boats in Mexico

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Originally Posted by Celestialsailor View Post
Although I like Lat 38 and support their efforts, I have to say they are becoming over the top just as AGACE has. Prior to this incident of impounding boats, if anyone wrote into Latitude 38 with a story of another countries bureaucracy causing them to give up cruising and sell their boat, well...Lat 38 would have just laughed at them. Come on...if waiting a month in a country were it's over 70 degrees all year round and you get your feathers ruffled?
I also wonder if Lat 38 would be making the stink they are if their boat had not been impounded.
Later in the rant, Richard goes on and on about all the Mexican bureaucracy. It's been that way forever. Certainly since Richard has been voyaging south. He always use to talked it up and minimized any irregularities. I'm just concered that Richards good intentions might turn around to bite him in the arse latter.
sounds like someone has discovered that they are not as important as they thought they were . that happens a lot with foreigners abroad........
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Old 19-01-2014, 06:26   #219
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sounds like someone has discovered that they are not as important as they thought they were . that happens a lot with foreigners abroad........
Exactly. I suspect Americans, with our culture of celebrity and wealth, are the worst about this.

I also question the trickle down effect of cruisers' money to impoverished locals. Obviously there is some if only due to the employment of locals at marinas and touristy restaurants. But I doubt the wealthy folk are eating at Felipe's Frijoles mobile food cart, or shopping at Mom and Pop's tienda. I wonder how many touristas ever get more than a block from calle mayor?
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Old 19-01-2014, 08:12   #220
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Re: Impounded boats in Mexico

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Exactly. I suspect Americans, with our culture of celebrity and wealth, are the worst about this.

I also question the trickle down effect of cruisers' money to impoverished locals. Obviously there is some if only due to the employment of locals at marinas and touristy restaurants. But I doubt the wealthy folk are eating at Felipe's Frijoles mobile food cart, or shopping at Mom and Pop's tienda. I wonder how many touristas ever get more than a block from calle mayor?
Not sure I would totally agree with that. I have seen the opposite where I am. There are groups of ex-pats here that were once cruisers and now live on their boats in the marinas here. They are heavily involved in organized groups that help the extremely poor. One group (Rotary Club) goes into area with no water, no electricity and zero education. That group puts on events in the marinas and shakes us down. The kids in those areas now get at least a high school education and a few go on to college. All on the money collected. It has been reported that the college educated ones are now coming back and helping out.
There was a rummage sale here a month ago and today a swap meet. All for charity.
That said, other cruisers I've seen. Like the FUBAR rally fleet, tend to stay on their mega-million dollar yachts and not venture out so much other than ordering a panga to come pick them up to go into town.
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Old 19-01-2014, 08:45   #221
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Good to hear some positives. I haven't ever thought the tax/registration guys were after real cruisers, current or ex.
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Old 19-01-2014, 09:33   #222
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Re: Impounded boats in Mexico

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I also question the trickle down effect of cruisers' money to impoverished locals. Obviously there is some if only due to the employment of locals at marinas and touristy restaurants. But I doubt the wealthy folk are eating at Felipe's Frijoles mobile food cart, or shopping at Mom and Pop's tienda. I wonder how many touristas ever get more than a block from calle mayor?
This just depends on the individual. We met cruisers that would not eat in a restaurant that didn't have a menu in English. But there were more cruisers like me that wouldn't go to a place with a menu in English! We were the Taco cart kings.

When you are living in an area like Mexico and spending $500 to $2500 per month in the local community, it's just impossible for the money to not help the local community or the locals. In many areas of the remote Sea of Cortez, your only choice were "mom & Pop tiendas" and taco carts and that is where we were the happiest!

The locals love the cruising community and their cruising dollars and that goes far beyond the marinas or fancy tourist restaurants. Most cruisers I met tended to shy away from tourist type restaurants, preferring the local places. Our measuring stick to try a new taco cart for example was how many locals were standing in line, and if we were the only gringos in the place the better! In fact, I would argue that the average Mexican has a better understanding of how Capitalism works than the Average American these days. The creativity and hard work we experienced daily in Mexico was a stark contrast to the record number of Americans on "disability" or unemployment these days back in LLUSA (Lazy Land USA), but that's another story all together isn't it.
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Old 19-01-2014, 10:26   #223
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...We were the Taco cart kings...
Haha. Me too. Nice post. I found a little cart in PR somewhere that advertised pescado y papas fritas. It was wonderful. Bet I ate there 50 times. That was back in the last century when it was OK to eat fried foods.
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Old 19-01-2014, 10:45   #224
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Re: Impounded boats in Mexico

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Haha. Me too. Nice post. I found a little cart in PR somewhere that advertised pescado y papas fritas. It was wonderful. Bet I ate there 50 times. That was back in the last century when it was OK to eat fried foods.
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My best party fodder for folks are the "Taco Cart" recreations.... Baja was my passion growing up.... Simply some of the best food in the world will never touch a real plate in a restaurant... !

PS got the "I must agree to be nice" agreement and checkbox before I could post this time!
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Old 23-01-2014, 00:21   #225
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Re: Impounded boats in Mexico

I just heard from my friends caught up in the seizure in Mexico. They just went to the Port Captain's office and checked out a couple of days ago. So they legally left and sailed back to San Diego. One caution: this was one of the boats where the impoundment list had the model name from the side of the vessel, not the actual yacht name, so it is not clear whether the Capitaneria didn't check the list (for whatever reason) or didn't find the name on the list. But clearly the marina did know they were on the list and checked them out, as proof that the marina bills were paid is required.

It is not clear if this has any application to the other vessels but it might be worth a try. There is some suspicion that the (local) port captains and marinas are not keen on enforcing a disastrous action from the federal district.

YMMV

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