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Old 08-12-2015, 05:31   #1
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Port clearance issues...

Hello Cruiser Forum community,
I literally just joined after bumping into a series of Problems and am desperately seeking some help in terms of paperwork in Myanmar/Thailand.

I am running an NGO for research in Myanmar and we recently were gifted a sailing Catamaran, that was long time moored in Kawthoung, Myanmar. The boat was never before registered or officialy entered or left a country - ever.
I succesfully managed to get the boat registered in my homecountry Austria and have all the paperwork for that on hand. The harbourmaster of Myanmar however will not give me port clearance unless I can hand him an old port clearance of the boat. So I went to Thailand (without the boat) asking at the harbourmaster/immigration (same office there) if I could sail over without port clearance and he put me into jail instantly for 2 hours and let me go for this time. However I am very hessitant to try again.
Is there any ideas/oportunities that anybody can think of to get the first initial port clearance? Everyone who ever bought a new boat must have the same issue of sorts?
Would be more than grateful for any kind of advice. Thank you very much, fair winds and calm seas on all your ways!
Manuel
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Old 08-12-2015, 05:46   #2
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Re: Port clearance issues...

Sure the Harbourmaster isn't just looking for a quick couple hundred US$$$
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Old 08-12-2015, 05:49   #3
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pirate Re: Port clearance issues...

Seems someone has passed their problems on to you.. one thing you should be very wary about with boats.. debts/complications.. travel with them.. not the previous owner.
Doubtless he faced problems with an illegal import re the boat and tried a similar thing.. every boat entering a new country needs a clearing out certificate from the last.. helps the authorities separate legal from illegal..
If it was gifted to the NGO I suggest you look into registering it Myanmar as belonging to the Myanmar Office.. pay up any import fee's/penalties that may be due or outstanding then you can sail it anywhere with no worries.
If its really For You.. deal with that once its got a history.. no big deal..
Or... Gift it to someone..
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Old 08-12-2015, 05:50   #4
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Re: Port clearance issues...

Well, not hundred percent, but I kindly asked if there is some sort of a fine that I can just pay him and get the port clearance to be able to proceed...
But he gave me a very clear NO - very much to my disappointment
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Old 08-12-2015, 05:53   #5
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Re: Port clearance issues...

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Seems someone has passed their problems on to you.. one thing you should be very wary about with boats.. debts/complications.. travel with them.. not the previous owner.
Doubtless he faced problems with an illegal import re the boat and tried a similar thing.. every boat entering a new country needs a clearing out certificate from the last.. helps the authorities separate legal from illegal..
If it was gifted to the NGO I suggest you look into registering it Myanmar as belonging to the Myanmar Office.. pay up any import fee's/penalties that may be due or outstanding then you can sail it anywhere with no worries.
Or... Gift it to someone..
You might be rather right with the statement of passed on problems... I just simply can't believe that one piece of paper can be so much of a hassle after getting all the other papers sorted.
And for registering in Myanmar I assume one would have to be from Myanmar... if it is anything like austria - which I don't know, but if there is anyone with a Burmese flag please feel free to share the infos! Super eager to learn those!
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Old 08-12-2015, 06:03   #6
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Re: Port clearance issues...

Slip out in the middle of the night and never see them again, if they don't know you are there they shouldn't miss you when you're gone.

Also if the boat is in the harbor without paperwork then the harbormaster wasn't doing his job....No.
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Old 08-12-2015, 06:10   #7
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Re: Port clearance issues...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Salty Mike View Post
Slip out in the middle of the night and never see them again, if they don't know you are there they shouldn't miss you when you're gone.

Also if the boat is in the harbor without paperwork then the harbormaster wasn't doing his job....No.
Was actually considering that option as well, but it leaves you with the problem of eventually having to get INTO a port again without the paperwork. again.

Also thought about the option of sailing out of Myanmar straight down to Phuket, but then I am also not sure how to handle it... I stamp my passport in Myanmar obviously but do I then just sail down and try immigrate!?
Feeling like a bit of lost ground...
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Old 08-12-2015, 06:13   #8
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Re: Port clearance issues...

The last time we cleared out of Phuket in 2014 we had misplaced our port clearance. No problem, they cleared us in again and then cleared us out 5 minutes later. Suggest you just head to Victoria and then just leave Myanmar and maybe head to Ranong or even Phuket where they are very tourist friendly and want your money there.

As I understand it Myanmar still requires a sailing permit (valid for only 2 weeks) as well as a full time guide to sail in their waters (check noonsite) so as a foreign flagged boat you probably will not be able to remain there anyway.

Love to hear how it works out for you.
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Old 08-12-2015, 06:29   #9
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Re: Port clearance issues...

Welcome to CF....
This is a strange one that begs more questions than answers at this stage:

1...What is the history of previous Owner and how was he able to prove ownership in order to gift to NGO?

2......if vessel was abandoned, then the State has first rights of possession, so I believe this will be the crux of your problem.

3.....Where was the boat built?

As suggested above, bribes camouflaged under the name of "port fees" (without receipts) may provide you with the necessary missing entry paperwork to get you moving legally...but I suspect they may want the boat, if it has sat there a long time

FYI new boat owner must first provide a "Builder's Certificate" and proof of Ownership to get registered....then gets customs/port clearance from country of origin.

You say you already have new registry from Austria (think of it now as your boats passport)

So what you are missing is the various stamped documents showing that the boat entered the country legally and can now depart legally

You are definitely into Bribe territory....

..... if that is the case you need to get some local advice on who to approach.

Last resort, if you are faced with a legal Catch-22 and Myanmar is being difficult, you may need to consider just escaping with boat, never to return.

Bypass neighbor Phuket and choose a small Malaysian or Indonesian port to make entry with photo shopped stained clearance papers from somewhere distant.
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Old 08-12-2015, 07:13   #10
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Re: Port clearance issues...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pelagic View Post
Welcome to CF....
This is a strange one that begs more questions than answers at this stage:

1...What is the history of previous Owner and how was he able to prove ownership in order to gift to NGO?

2......if vessel was abandoned, then the State has first rights of possession, so I believe this will be the crux of your problem.

3.....Where was the boat built?

As suggested above, bribes camouflaged under the name of "port fees" (without receipts) may provide you with the necessary missing entry paperwork to get you moving legally...but I suspect they may want the boat, if it has sat there a long time

FYI new boat owner must first provide a "Builder's Certificate" and proof of Ownership to get registered....then gets customs/port clearance from country of origin.

You say you already have new registry from Austria (think of it now as your boats passport)

So what you are missing is the various stamped documents showing that the boat entered the country legally and can now depart legally

You are definitely into Bribe territory....

..... if that is the case you need to get some local advice on who to approach.

Last resort, if you are faced with a legal Catch-22 and Myanmar is being difficult, you may need to consider just escaping with boat, never to return.

Bypass neighbor Phuket and choose a small Malaysian or Indonesian port to make entry with photo shopped stained clearance papers from somewhere distant.
So you DO have valid points here I have to say...
1. the previous owner was designer and builder of the boat as well, but you are right, no proof of ownership on his side...
2. The state certainly doesn't want the boat, the harbor master literally told us to "get out of sight" so he doesn't have to deal with us as a problem...
boat was built (the hulls) in italy, assembeled in Singapore and then sailed into Thailand and later across to Myanmar, all without registry or any kind of paperwork... guess in those days that was actually possible...

Si in that case I guess the biggie will be to find the suitable port for the bribe... as much as I hate the idea...
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Old 09-12-2015, 22:12   #11
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Re: Port clearance issues...

Phew, so after a few long and busy days I stumbeled across a solution to the problems. With the boat still in Myanmar I am in Ranong now and found myself a translator to go to immigration with.
We explained him, there is a boat in Myanmar, in need of repairs, that can't be done over there but in Thailand. a series of questions about the boat started finishing with us explaining the entire project of the NGO we are here for - preserving the Mergui islands off the coast on Thailand and Myanmar.
A little bit of chit chat in between the officers in the room and a few minutes later the boat was cleared into Thailand (still sitting in Myanmar at this stage but we will tow her over hopefully today with help from the fishermen around). Either way, the port clearing fees here are (as I was told before) around 100USD for the boat. However they charged me 100 Baht (about 2,5 Euros) and wished us well for the project.
If only life was like this more often...
Thank you all for the input!!!
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Old 10-12-2015, 04:14   #12
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Re: Port clearance issues...

Good news and solution.....

Recommend you keep all old documents relating to work done in Thailand and original clearances for a while ...

..just in case someone tries to create a new problem and expensive solution
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Old 10-12-2015, 05:08   #13
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Re: Port clearance issues...

Glad you managed to work it out..👍
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Old 10-12-2015, 05:40   #14
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Re: Port clearance issues...

get your own embossed ships stamp with the vessels name,port of registry,number and flag,use it on all crew lists and clearance documents,nothing impress's officials more than a big fat rubber stamp!
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