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jim_thomsen 10-02-2009 17:18

Martinique Strike
We were planning to go to Martinique tomorrow but heard from others that the current strike on the island is causing problems. Does anyone know anything about the current situation and how it would impact us? Is customs/immigration still open for checking in?

The strike has been going for 21 days in Guadalupe. Any first hand information about it?

We will probably go anyway and see what happens.

Thank you for any suggestions or first hand information.

Chuteman 10-02-2009 17:27

Guadeloupe - going on 3 weeks now.

Martinique - yes, it has spread News: Unrest in Guadeloupe continues, spreads to Martinique

Google - lots on France, Guadeloupe & now Martinique unrest & strikes

slomotion 10-02-2009 17:33

Per the BBC today:

"Martinique strike biting
The French government has rejected demands to raise the minimum wage in Guadeloupe, which has been paralysed by a general strike for over three weeks.
Protesters there have blocked fuel stations, roads and supermarkets.
The island's important tourism industry has also been dealt a severe blow by the industrial action over the high cost of living.
The protests have spread to Martinique whose own strike action began last Thursday.
The president of the Martinique/Dominica Medical Association, Nita James, told BBC Caribbean on Tuesday that there was at the moment a shortage of gasoline, cooking gas and other necessities, with water and electricity also affected.
There have been reports of strikers employing strong arm tactics to force supermarkets to close, and of youths looting jewelry and other businesses. "

Chuteman 10-02-2009 17:35

add'l one

you might want to check US State Dept site too

osirissail 11-02-2009 08:02

We are also waiting in Carriacou/Grenadines for a window north to Martinique and we are worried about the situation in Marin and Anse Matin. Is there anybody actually on-scene there (anchored/etc.) that can give a report?
Jim & Galina on OSIRIS

Harriet 11-02-2009 08:30

A friend of ours reported on the Coconut Telegraph (cruisers' morning vhf net in Caribbean) that the strike is still on, has spread to Martinique, and that shops are starting to close up. Gas and diesel are very difficult to get, although he did not mention looting. I don't think slomotion's post exaggerates. Once you have a weather window, I would either stop there just as a place to spend the night (i.e., yellow flag it), or plan a night sail to pass it by altogether. Just my 2 cents...

GordMay 11-02-2009 11:24

On Tuesday (Feb. 10/09), the French government rejected demands to raise the minimum wage in the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.
The strikers demands include an increase of 200 euros ($257) in the minimum wage, from the current minimum monthly salary of 1,000 euros ($1,286) to 1,200 euros ($1,543).

Although the island, along with the other Caribbean French overseas department Martinique, has one of the higher standards of living in the Caribbean, the unemployment rate has been at around 20-30% for the last few years, and the cost of many goods is about twice as high as in mainland France.

* ONE Euro = about 1.287 U.S. Dollars

billyehh 11-02-2009 13:08

I arrived in Martinique last night at Anse Mitan. The tourist areas were about 2/3rd open but the ferries to Fort de France were not operating. Fuel is not available. Moved to Fort de France this morning because the Clearance centre was destroyed in a hurricane a couple of years ago and no one has updated the website.
There are daily protests and over 90%of stores are closed. I am trying to get water but have plenty of fuel. I have heard reports (not verified) that the polce are not responding and that the army may be called out.

I was able by computer to get an inward and outward clearance good until Friday. The winds are quite strong right now, 25 to 30 knots but looks like awindow may open Friday and I'll head for Dominica. If this continues I'll either yellow flag through Guadaloupe or do aovernight straight to Antiqua

osirissail 11-02-2009 16:07

Awh Shucks! And I wanted to stock up on bagguettes and some beaujolais wine. Q-flagging through is always an option, but technically you cannot go ashore although I suspect there isn't anybody patrolling or checking.
I was wondering if the marina and custom/immigration in Cul-de-sac Marin was operational. That is my second favorite stop behind Anse Mitan. Also anybody have any reports about Iles des Saintes? or Deshaies?
The next good weather window is the week of 16-20 Feb for moving north.
Jim & Galina onboard OSIRIS

osirissail 12-02-2009 04:38

Here is an email notice I just received about the situation in Guadeloupe - Pointe-a-Pitre. P-A-P is the capital up in the crotch of the two islands and has been the center of the friction of the two groups of people on the island.
- - - -
The general strike in Guadeloupe running in tandem with the situation in
Europe took a dramatic turn for the worse yesterday and I regret that it
will be necessary to remove the entire Swan charter fleet from the island
base in Pointe a Pitre.

Three of our captains are long term residents of the island and they
strongly support this action - they feel it has become necessary to do this
to preserve not only their own safety but ensure the continued integrity of
our Caribbean operations.
Two yachts have already left but two captains are waiting to see how the
situation develops as they have domestic responsibilities which would make
leaving the island for any length of time difficult. But they will leave if
they have to.
Racial tensions have been building up in Guadeloupe over the past week and
the absence of food, water and power has created a politically charged and
dangerous social situation.

A serious crisis has been evolving this week to the extent that the local
population has little food and water left. Inevitably this will put pressure
on a situation that could quickly evolve into civil unrest.

The deteriorating situation during this current week has not been well
reported locally in the Caribbean or internationally. Following a crisis
meeting at the Guadeloupe Prefecture today the authorities are now
mobilising the police and armed forces to cope with a strike situation that
is predicted to last as long as one month.

Our captains had been staying on their individual yachts as they had not
been able to travel to their Guadeloupe homes safely - most forms of
transport, including private cars, are now at a standstill due to the lack
of fuel in the country. Armed gangs are blockading routes and white French
nationals are suddenly being randomly targeted, causing many residents to
begin to fear for their safety.

The captains are predicting a good chance of severe civil unrest next week -
under these circumstances we were compelled to move the fleet 20 miles south
to Les Saintes a) where it is safer and b) where most shops and businesses
are still open - this is only an anchoring area with no marina facility. If
things do not improve in Guadeloupe very quickly we will then temporarily
relocate the fleet to Antigua.

Cam Dobbins

M/V Caribbee

GordMay 12-02-2009 05:26

Thatís a John Burnie article from Yachting World magazine
Yachts leave Guadaloupe as strike hits: Supersail World superyachting news from Yachting World magazine

Please donít cut & paste copyright materials. A short summary of the news, and link to the original source is appropriate.

DWT 12-02-2009 05:53

Not to highjack the topic but what do you mean by:

"If this continues I'll either yellow flag through Guadaloupe or do aovernight straight to Antiqua"

osirissail 12-02-2009 07:07

The quoted email was also sent by the author to his friends via email which is where I got it. So it is actually in the public domain even if Yachting World also published it. This is a grey area where the magazines use a "blanket copyright" for the magazine contents and the item has already been in the public domain.
- - -
As to Q-flagging / Yellow Flagging through a port there is a provision in the international maritime treaties/conventions that allow "innocent passage" through territorial waters of the signatories to the treaties. This is to allow "taking refuge" from bad weather/storms or mechanical problems without having to formally check into the country. There are reasonable restrictions based on the countries security needs and basically the people on the vessel are not allow to leave the vessel unless they actually do check into the country.

GordMay 12-02-2009 08:05


Originally Posted by osirissail (Post 254080)
The quoted email was also sent by the author to his friends via email which is where I got it. So it is actually in the public domain even if Yachting World also published it. This is a grey area where the magazines use a "blanket copyright" for the magazine contents and the item has already been in the public domain...

Thanks for the explanation; which likely possibility was the reason why I didn't edit/delete your post.

jim_thomsen 14-02-2009 13:23

We did go to Martinique, Fort de France 3 days ago. Almost everything was closed, but the Sea Services store where you can check in and out was open. We then went to St. Pierre for one night. Most things were closed but we did buy some things in a market, but while we were paying 2 masked men came in and forced the store to close.
Without waiting for "the weather window" we sailed to Dominica yesterday (upper 20's wind, gusts 30+, 2-3 meter swell, but sunny and a very fast sail.)
We're happy to be in Dominica!

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