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· Master Mariner
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just posted by Chris Doyle;
"Cruisers need to be aware that the government of Antigua has passed legislation that any person doing anything off a ship before the vessel is fully cleared is subject to a fine of up to 25,000 EC per person. Unfortunately there are a few officers in Antigua customs who delight in catching people for any kind of transgression whatever the intent and giving them a hefty fine which is levied by the head of customs who seems only too delighted to increase the govt revenue this way. In the past most cases that happened were in Jolly Harbour, and one of the most famous was someone who finding the customs closed ate in the adjoin restaurant was fined $5000 EC.
The latest case was in English Harbour/ Falmouth. A yacht arriving for the Caribbean 600 arrived one day with too much to do and not enough time to do it in. He had people leaving that evening and he had to do something at the airport. He had already completed his pre-entry on Easeaclear so saw no problem in having his crew finish the process in customs while he went to the airport. Normally this would be OK except the customs officer (a woman) said only the captain could clear (it turned out this was not true) and the crew somewhat panicked because there was not that much time and they had a plane to catch, made the mistake of saying he had gone to the airport and they had no way to contact him.
The end result was a several thousand dollar fine. I believe the skipper has sent a letter to Caribbean Compass so you should be able to read the details in the next issue.
I do ask myself why a country like Antigua, which depends on tourism would in the first place pass a law with such draconian fines. Then in the second you wonder whether the customs officers realize without yachts most of their jobs would be gone. Now I have no problem of hefty fines in the case of real malfeasance, but eating in a restaurant next to the custom station? Sending crew to clear customs and jumping the gun a bit to do an urgent errand? Well, be very much on guard. Do not step out of like one inch and if, like this guy you arrive with too much to do and not enough time to do it, make arrangements with an agent, it will be a lot cheaper than the fine."
Still want to take a chance bending the rules in the Caribbean?
 

· Master Mariner
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I received this comment from friends currently in the region, they spend a lot of time in Antigua each year:

We cleared into English Harbor two days ago, and it took closer to half an hour, but everyone was nice and friendly. If you are clearing in there, bring at least us$50.00 (it was us$53.00 for two of us) or EC currency. I shudder to think what all those 150'+ mega yachts are paying, but it was well worth the $53.00 just to walk the dockyard and cruise the docks of Falmouth in the dink and look at row after row of those behemoths. Ticonderoga was there, as well as quite a few beautiful classics, both US and English.
Certainly not an island to be missed.
 
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