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post #9 of Old 03-11-2004
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A follow-up of sorts to an earlier point I made: I had a lengthy chat just yesterday with a British couple who have extensive cruising experience thru-out Europe and who currently are in the Med. To my surprise, they mentioned that port clearance issues in Spain and France have now been modified significantly due to the increasing amount of yacht-borne drug trafficking the officials are seeing. This discussion was on the same day the 10 terrorist bombs were exploded in 3 Spanish railway stations (the equivalent of bombs going off in regional airports around the U.S.).

The discussion reminded me of how formalities, security issues, legal/police activity and other ''issues'' dealt with by cruising sailors continue to change and provide an uncertain climate at times. To carry Nigerian/Liberian/Panamanian paperwork into the midst this existing confusion and anxiety really does seem a poor idea. Perhaps I''ve previously understated the security that comes with your (or any boat) being flagged in a well-recognized country.

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