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Old 24-01-2020, 18:27   #1
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Vessel in transit...

I have a question for the more experienced than I. If a sailing vessel is passing through The Bahamas (two crew) with a final destination of Puerto Rico for example, and has no intention of stoping for a shore excursion, Is it permissible to stop and anchor overnight for rest or due to inclement weather if you proceed on your journey at the earliest opportunity?

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Old 24-01-2020, 19:01   #2
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Re: Vessel in transit...

it is illegal in many countries but you will probably get away with it

If you want to be legal, just go to clear in, and refuse to pay the fee, and then leave.
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Old 24-01-2020, 19:05   #3
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Re: Vessel in transit...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael1 View Post
I have a question for the more experienced than I. If a sailing vessel is passing through The Bahamas (two crew) with a final destination of Puerto Rico for example, and has no intention of stoping for a shore excursion, Is it permissible to stop and anchor overnight for rest or due to inclement weather if you proceed on your journey at the earliest opportunity?

Thanks,

Michael
When you enter territorial waters you must stop and check into the country at the first point of contact..first port

To determine territorial waters you must consult the charts

Territorial waters generally extend 12 miles from the coast and are marked by a dashed magenta line with <0> marks

The <0> indicates that any vessel that enters territorial water must check in with the authorities via radio..generally vhf channel 16 or channel noted
And state their reason for being inside territorial waters
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Old 24-01-2020, 19:08   #4
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Re: Vessel in transit...

The Right of Innocent passage includes anchoring as incidental to navigation. That said the local enforcement may not see it that way. You bring up the Bahamas which has a major history of drug smuggling along with very heavy enforcement attemps against it.

It is a lot better not to leave a dirty wake of pissed off officials that other cruisers will have to deal with latter - even if you think you rights in other countries.
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Old 24-01-2020, 19:47   #5
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Re: Vessel in transit...

Slug, What does the inner magenta line mean in your pic?
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Old 24-01-2020, 20:19   #6
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Re: Vessel in transit...

Outside line....Croatia 12 mile limit ...Croatia National VTS zone ...Vessel traffic services ..vHF check in

The inner line is Dubrovnik VTS.. Vessel traffic services ....vessels entering the port of Dubrovnik must check in via VHF radio

I don’t have charts of the US on my iPad ...Im certain that the US also has all the relevant VTS zones

Your coast pilot will also explain all territorial lines , VTS zones and vhf channels
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Old 24-01-2020, 20:27   #7
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Re: Vessel in transit...

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Originally Posted by slug View Post
Outside line....Croatia 12 mile limit ...Croatia National VTS zone ...Vessel traffic services ..vHF check in

The inner line is Dubrovnik VTS.. Vessel traffic services ....vessels entering the port of Dubrovnik must check in via VHF radio

I don’t have charts of the US on my iPad ...Im certain that the US also has all the relevant VTS zones

Your coast pilot will also explain all territorial lines , VTS zones and vhf channels
VTS is seperate from international boundaries, 12 mile limits, etc. In a VTS zone you have to follow the VTS rules. This is not what the OP is asking about. In most countries you can pass through their offshore waters without any check in. Countries like Australia will contact you, but you can still pass through without checkng in. The Right of Innocent Pasage is part of the UN maritime treaties.

You can, for example, leave the Bahamas and travel 500 miles up the US East Coast nearshore and contact no one. Then clear in at the next port you plan to stop at.
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Old 24-01-2020, 20:48   #8
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Re: Vessel in transit...

VTS is your communication with the authorities. Vessel traffic services alert you of any notice to mariners, ship movements ....that may effect you as well as advise you on non standard procedures.

If you must enter territorial waters because of weather, mechanical difficulties..you must contact VTS..state your intentions...and receive approval

Failure to obey ...and you face a stiff penalty

In the US entering territorial waters , not clearing of customs and immigration ....without first checking in With VTS for permission , is a 35 thousand dollar fine
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Old 24-01-2020, 22:19   #9
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Re: Vessel in transit...

Quote:
Originally Posted by slug View Post
VTS is your communication with the authorities. Vessel traffic services alert you of any notice to mariners, ship movements ....that may effect you as well as advise you on non standard procedures.

If you must enter territorial waters because of weather, mechanical difficulties..you must contact VTS..state your intentions...and receive approval

Failure to obey ...and you face a stiff penalty

In the US entering territorial waters , not clearing of customs and immigration ....without first checking in With VTS for permission , is a 35 thousand dollar fine
You do not call VTS to clear into the US. VTS covers a tiny percentage of the US coast line and is for managing safe ship passage in confined waters.
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Old 25-01-2020, 04:14   #10
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Re: Vessel in transit...

Is one night anchoring within Bahamian waters for "innocent passage" purposes considered stopping at "foreign ports?" If not then leaving any US port and going straight to PR would a formal check in in PR still required? My reading of the law says that it's just like traveling from NY to Miami. Am I reading it wrong?

I get the LEOs in Bahamas or PR position and concerns but my question is about the law itself not it's individual LEO's interpretations or misuse.
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Old 25-01-2020, 04:15   #11
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Re: Vessel in transit...

The above is not what we have experienced in our travels in the Caribbean. We and many others will fly the quarantine flag and spend the night in harbor before moving on the next day. We have never been questioned or boarded by officials in our travels. This is the first we have been told that we and many others are doing something wrong or illegal.
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Old 25-01-2020, 04:39   #12
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Re: Vessel in transit...

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Originally Posted by slug View Post
The <0> indicates that any vessel that enters territorial water must check in with the authorities via radio..generally vhf channel 16 or channel noted
And state their reason for being inside territorial waters
Any vessel?, where did you get that information? .....

Adriatic Reporting System
Quote:
1.1 Ships of the following categories are required to participate in the system:

- all oil tanker ships of 150 gross tonnage and above;
- all ships of 300 gross tonnage and above, carrying on board, as cargo, dangerous or polluting goods, in bulk or in packages.
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Old 25-01-2020, 06:40   #13
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Re: Vessel in transit...

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Any vessel?, where did you get that information? .....

Adriatic Reporting System
If you prefer to ignore VTS , have your credit card handy

If the authorities don’t board you at sea , they will track you via AIS then fine you when you clear in or interact with port authorities .

From a cruising guide ......

The Strait of Messina: Call in regardless of what the regulations say

1 September 2013.

We met Tom and Bev from Minnesota in Gaita, Italy. They relayed to us the unpleasant experience they had of being stopped in the Messina Straits and being given a 1,800 Euro ticket for failing to check in with the VTS control before entering the straits (see prior Noonsite post below).

Being forewarned, I accessed the Costa Guardia website and did find that per the written regulations, no contact seemed to be required for a normal sized sailing yacht. However, when we passed through earlier this morning, we found that the practice differs from the writings on the Guardia website. About an hour out and thinking that I was probably being foolish on a 16.7-meter vessel, I called VTS (+39 090 41711 was the number that I called, others listed are +39 090 41923 and +39 090 41989 but are untested by me). To my surprise, the person answering not only took me seriously, but he also went through a list of detailed questions about our vessel and our last port of call, ending the call by instructing me to call in again when we reached the straits on channel 10. We did so and, after being given very specific instructions, we were monitored all the way to Marina Natunno where VTS noted that he wanted me to call in and then monitored the call to the harbour to be sure that I was exiting the traffic control system at that point.

Traffic within the straits is quite heavy (especially the ferry boats) and the VTS functions as a form of air traffic control, to prevent collisions. We noticed at least two patrol boats in the straits while we were passing through. The bottom line seems to be to call in regardless of what the regs say.

As a side note, the Costa Guardia station at Messina bent over backwards to help me out and provided documentation checking me out of Italy for presentation when we reach Greece later this week (no charge). As a non-EU vessel, I felt that having the magic government stamp on a document might come in very handy once we sail 250 miles to Greece (hard to turn around and run back to get it if it turns out we need it). We had a very positive experience with these folks.

Scott Sullan

S/V Robin

The Strait of Messina: Incident with the Coast Guard

Report into the VTS before transiting the straits to avoid possible fines.

On May 4, 2013, we transited the Messina Strait, Italy, northbound.

Conditions were favourable, light winds and little current. We entered the Strait along the SW side and crossed the VTS to just South of the Catona along the Eastside and were proceeding North. There was light commercial traffic and we presented NO traffic issues while crossing the traffic lanes. A second yacht was also transiting Northbound and they were along the East side just ahead of us. They were coming in from the East and were unknown to us and we never spoke directly with them.

Just south of Giovanni, an Italian Coast Guard patrol boat approached the first yacht and requested that they drop all sails and hold station. The CG then came to us and told us to drops sails and stop the engine. From the action onboard the patrol boat they were preparing to raft up with us. At the time it was a moderately choppy sea and I indicated that I would not allow their rafting. Their high black rub rail was about mid-lifeline height! They did not raft up.

The CG boat then came close and informed us that we had NOT reported into Messina VTS. They requested our Ships papers, Passports and the Constito (Italian cruising permit). After approximately 40 minutes the CG returned with our Paperwork and an Infraction Document. The fine was 2064 euro! The infraction was for NOT reporting into VTS prior to entering the VTS zone. Fortunately, the fine was only to be paid if we departed Italy and re-entered at a later date.

After releasing us, the CG proceeded to the 2nd yacht and started to raft to them. About mid-way through the process of rafting up the CG boat backed off and departed the area. The 2nd yacht looked over at us with a “what was that all about?” look. They had to wait around for about 45 minutes. The CG boat never returned.

We have spoken to a number of other yachts that have transited previously and only a very few have ever contacted VTS. I had thought that our crossing of the VTS may have raised the flag?? The second yacht did not cross over the VTS but they were also stopped but not fined???

So, if anyone is planning to Transit the Messina Strait, I would recommend that they call Messina Strait Harbor Control @ ch 16 or VTS @ ch 10, prior to entering the Strait.

Tom Walton & Bev Newberry

S/Y HALFMOON

USA reg.
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Old 25-01-2020, 06:51   #14
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Re: Vessel in transit...

Quote:
Originally Posted by slug View Post
If you prefer to ignore VTS , have your credit card handy
Not preferring anything, just interested where your info came from. A single report from 7 years ago from a long way away might not be the be all and end all of reliable info.. Messina straits are a long way from Croatia.
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Old 25-01-2020, 06:59   #15
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Re: Vessel in transit...

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You do not call VTS to clear into the US. VTS covers a tiny percentage of the US coast line and is for managing safe ship passage in confined waters.
VTS is not customs and immigration ...VTS registers , interrogates and provides safety information to any vessel that enter the VTS zone

Do not enter territorial waters without first checking in

Bermuda VTS

ARRIVAL IN BERMUDA
All yachts calling at Bermuda must contact Bermuda Radio prior to arrival. A VHF radio call should be attempted at 30 miles from the Island giving an ETA and details of any special requirements. Bermuda Radio will ask for a description of your vessel, as well as details of certain safety equipment carried aboard. Assistance with entering the harbour and obtaining Customs, Immigration and Health clearance is also provided. Details of any relevant shipping movements or other safety information will also be passed on.
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