Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 14-01-2012, 08:21   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: St Kitts
Boat: 36' 2001 Fortuna Island Spirit Catamaran
Posts: 254
Quasi Semi Small Commercial Vessel Questions ...

I have a catamaran which was registered in BVI. However the flag has now been changed to St Martin (Dutch side) because of the costs and increased regulations in the BVI.

Background: BVI as of about 2 years ago now has to meet all red flag (British) specifications for SCV (Small Commercial Vessels). But there are 2 gotchas. 1) For a multihull this includes stability testing (Even of production built), escape hatches and many other modifications. and 2) *Any* commercial activity will cause the boat to be classified as an SCV.....

So now the boat was reflagged St Martin a while ago but still as a non commercial vessel. "Not for commercial use".

So I have a few questions...

***********
First of all I want to be clear, I'm not trying to skirt any laws and I want to
make sure that I'm good by my insurance as well. I want to do things right...
***********

1) I'm in St Kitts and have a small retail business. We often need to get stuff to Nevis which is part of our country and just a few miles away. We also need to get stuff from Statia which is just a few miles away too (although not part of our country). If I go personally to buy stuff I would be ok, but what if I need to transport small items (its not heavy cargo, its small computer parts, at most 200 lbs of stuff... thats less than the weight of my average crew member. ).. Does that classify me as commercial if its for my business? Does it change if I'm not the captain (not always available to go) and I pay someone to captain the boat?

I know the insurance would not cover the cargo, thats fine. I can add coverage or just not worry about that. What I dont want is a situation where they say I'm violating the laws of the flag state and wouldn't cover the boat or other if something did happen.

2) The boat is certified to carry a certain number of people and we never go over that. But often we take a lot of friends and I want to relax and spend time with the kids and dare I say want drink some beers we take a long a crew and sometimes even a captain to take my place... I pay them for their time. Is this commercial if the other passengers are contributing to the compensation to the captain?

3) Longer term we would like to do day charters just nearby with either myself, my son, or one of our regulars as a captain. This obviously is in the line of commercial. For St Kitts we meet all the local maritime operating requirements, but especially with the new independent status of St Martin is anyone prepared to give a brief overview of whats involved for a St Martin flagged boat? I've tried making a few calls, but its seems with their new found independence not even they are fully sure who is what or what is what.... That might seem odd, but having seen what new govt dept are like in St Kitts where no one knows up from down I understand whats going on possibly over there...
__________________

__________________
PyotrBee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-01-2012, 08:30   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Holland, France
Boat: 33ft sloop
Posts: 1,091
Images: 5
Re: Quasi-semi-small commercial vessel questions....

Which law prevails in Sint Maarten? If that is the Dutch law, answers are to get quite easy.
If it concerns self-produced law by the Islanders, it might be something different, they may change regulations at will. That is your first concern. Find out which kind of law prevails. After that, the answers could be found.
__________________

__________________
MacG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-01-2012, 08:38   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: St Kitts
Boat: 36' 2001 Fortuna Island Spirit Catamaran
Posts: 254
Re: Quasi-semi-small commercial vessel questions....

From everything Ive been told Dutch law no longer applies because since 10 October 2010 it is an independent country.
__________________
PyotrBee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-01-2012, 09:03   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Holland, France
Boat: 33ft sloop
Posts: 1,091
Images: 5
Re: Quasi-semi-small commercial vessel questions....

The problem is not St Maarten. The only problem is Nevis. If you can get those products legally on land I cannot see what St Maarten has to do with it. Nevis is your homeground so a chat with the Customs would clarify this point.

Secondly, the captain question: many boatowners might hire a day-captain, as you want to do. Hiring a day-captain does not mean that you are a commercial vessel.
You can check but I believe that to be a commercial vessel you have to have paying passengers, not friends sharing all over costs of food, booze and day captain.
Except when they pay you for the charter. Than you are a charter skipper.
But in the case of friends sharing costs, no I cannot see what the problem might be.

Maybe other forum members can chime in.
__________________
MacG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-01-2012, 09:11   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: St Kitts
Boat: 36' 2001 Fortuna Island Spirit Catamaran
Posts: 254
Re: Quasi-semi-small commercial vessel questions....

Nevis is not an issue, there are no customs as its coming from St Kitts - ie Nevis is the same country as the source. The items have already been cleared through Federal customs and are simply being moved to one of our other islands.

I was questioning St Martin because most insurance has a clause about meeting all requirements of the flag state. For BVI (who now is super strict because of SCV / Red Flag requirements) even transporting a repaired single item to Nevis classified me as an SCV... I talked to the ship registry in BVI and they were very clear about that and one of the reasons we (and apparently from talking to others many others have as well) re-flagged it elsewhere.

Re charter - Ive lived in about a dozen countries and my few years in the US have made me a legal paranoid. Any ideas on where the line blurs between day captain with friends and a charter? Sure if I advertise it as a charter thats clear... I just dont want to step over the line and then have an incident and have my insurance claim it was commercial... FWIW my insurance is not a US based one, but is Caribbean based (Nagico).
__________________
PyotrBee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-01-2012, 09:20   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Holland, France
Boat: 33ft sloop
Posts: 1,091
Images: 5
Re: Quasi-semi-small commercial vessel questions....

I fail to understand what BVI has to do with it when your vessel had changed flags already. Hence BVI is outside this problem, or not? I don' t see the connection.

I checked but St Maarten cannot change laws at will this moment. I checked the latest info from our government and they state that they will see to it that normal juridical procedures will be kept so that situations like in other Carib Isles cannot occur.

Your fear about the US is understandable. But St Maarten is not the US and for the time being the Dutch Government guarantees a normal status. It depends now where your boat is registered. If it is St Maarten officially than all the measurements of the BVI are not valid in your case.
__________________
MacG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-01-2012, 09:40   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: St Kitts
Boat: 36' 2001 Fortuna Island Spirit Catamaran
Posts: 254
Re: Quasi-semi-small commercial vessel questions....

Yes BVI is totally out of the case. I was just expressing my past experience and thus concern. BVI made it clear that if I transported anything on behalf of my business - even a 5lb item that I would be classified as a small commercial vessel and my boat would require massive modifications and new inspections.... But this was only after the new regulations were enforced on them by the UK about 2 years ago. So my referencing the BVI was simply an example for comparison and past experience.

So yes my boat is registered in St Martin. We have all the papers its had the flag since we changed over last year. So my questions pertain to moving forward and making sure that Im abiding by the regulations properly.

I understand the Dutch still have a role to ensure smooth transition, but many things have changed especially regarding local staff in St Martin. The problem is that I dont seem to be able to get any clear answers out of the govt of St Martin and it seems that at least some of them don't even know the answers (which is very typical here in West Indies, its certainly true of many depts in St Kitts).

Ill try my insurance company on Monday too. At least they are very responsive.

Maybe I should try SXM Sea Rescue (Who does the inspections for the govt) as they seem more responsive?
__________________
PyotrBee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-01-2012, 11:12   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Holland, France
Boat: 33ft sloop
Posts: 1,091
Images: 5
Re: Quasi Semi Small Commercial Vessel Questions ...

Well, they (the Islanders) are afraid for one thing: to be cut financially. The problem is that if you give them a free hand they will turn the Island in no time to Haitian standards. The Dutch government is aware of that and therefore the Islanders are careful with what to say because they don' t have a clue either what has bespoken between Philipsburg and The Hague. With other words: in name they are autonomic but don't have the capacity to govern the part of the Island which is only a mere 34 km2.

So far Dutch law is still ruling.
__________________
MacG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-01-2012, 11:18   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: St Kitts
Boat: 36' 2001 Fortuna Island Spirit Catamaran
Posts: 254
Re: Quasi Semi Small Commercial Vessel Questions ...

"turn the Island in no time to Haitian standards"

I don't doubt that based on my residence in other similar locales.

But even when it was fully Dutch different rules applied than did in mainland Netherlands on many things including maritime affairs. So if the rules are "unchanged" (at least in the majority, I can confirm at least some changes here and there based on my interactions with them) then #1 and #2 should be safe?

And for #3, it seems there is a lower category up to 12 passengers and I've written to SXM Sea Rescue about it. Hopefully they can respond with better knowledge than I've received before.
__________________

__________________
PyotrBee is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:38.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.