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BVI customs #282032
05/09/2022 07:37 PM
05/09/2022 07:37 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 6,561
GA/NC
GeorgeC1 Offline OP
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GeorgeC1  Offline OP
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Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 6,561
GA/NC
I read a interesting discussion on a BVI Facebook page. A Elderly Spanish couple arrived in the BVI on a private cat during high winds. They attempted to anchor in Roadtown to clear customs but found conditions to rough. They proceeded to West End where the husband injured his back getting the boat moored. They realized they could not climb the wall to customs and went to the other side. The hailed a cab to drive around to customs but decided to get the husbands back looked at first. Returning to customs they told customs what they had done. They were separated and placed under arrest. They were driven to Road Town but later returned to their boat under guard by 3 policeman. They were accessed a fine of 20,000 dollars each. They were also verbally berated by the customs officials for a extended period of time. The fine was reduced to 5000 Euro’s. Clearly they were in the wrong but this seems excessive.
The story can be found here. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1266848426813237/
Scroll down a bit to find it.

G

Last edited by GeorgeC1; 05/09/2022 07:44 PM.
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Re: BVI customs [Re: GeorgeC1] #282035
05/09/2022 07:51 PM
05/09/2022 07:51 PM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 487
Ohio
jagmansr Offline
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jagmansr  Offline
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Posts: 487
Ohio
I read the story too. Bottom line was they DID NOT check in with customs before taking off to see a clinic (and as far as anyone including customs know, what else they did). Sorry for their problems but really,,,, checking into any county, you go through customs first,,,,, otherwise, YES there are consequences, end of story.

Re: BVI customs [Re: GeorgeC1] #282036
05/09/2022 07:57 PM
05/09/2022 07:57 PM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 672
Redmond, WA
MrEZgoin Online content
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Redmond, WA
I saw it too and though I have sympathy for their situation it seemed like they took a bit of an "ask forgiveness instead of permission" approach and it didn't work out. Also, a certain lack of respect for the officials came through in the post and may have exacerbated the situation.


M4000 "Lio Kai"
Re: BVI customs [Re: GeorgeC1] #282048
05/10/2022 07:02 AM
05/10/2022 07:02 AM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 1,234
Washington DC
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bailau Offline
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Washington DC
Never a fan of BVI Customs but this captain should have a VHF radio (or other communications device) that he could have apprised someone of his situation or at least asked for help from other boaters. Sorry but this one is on him IMHO....

Re: BVI customs [Re: GeorgeC1] #282053
05/10/2022 07:40 AM
05/10/2022 07:40 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 6,561
GA/NC
GeorgeC1 Offline OP
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GeorgeC1  Offline OP
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As I mentioned he was in the wrong but threatened with prison and a 40,000 dollar total fine is a bit much!

Re: BVI customs [Re: GeorgeC1] #282056
05/10/2022 07:54 AM
05/10/2022 07:54 AM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 672
Redmond, WA
MrEZgoin Online content
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MrEZgoin  Online Content
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Redmond, WA
Ultimately they paid less. Threatening a higher fine is probably an effective way to get people to pay a lower fine.


M4000 "Lio Kai"
Re: BVI customs [Re: MrEZgoin] #282057
05/10/2022 07:58 AM
05/10/2022 07:58 AM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 1,234
Washington DC
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bailau Offline
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Originally Posted by MrEZgoin
Ultimately they paid less. Threatening a higher fine is probably an effective way to get people to pay a lower fine.


Classic sales technique...need to raise money to get their Premier back

Re: BVI customs [Re: GeorgeC1] #282063
05/10/2022 08:22 AM
05/10/2022 08:22 AM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 5,718
Massachusetts
maytrix Offline
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maytrix  Offline
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Massachusetts
It's been years since we've been, but isn't there still a dinghy dock by customs at Soper's hole? That's what we always used when checking in or out. Our last trip was 2016 though. Looking forward to getting down there in July!


Matt
Re: BVI customs [Re: GeorgeC1] #282064
05/10/2022 08:25 AM
05/10/2022 08:25 AM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 5,648
An island state of mind
tradewinds Offline
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tradewinds  Offline
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An island state of mind
Irma took out the old dinghy dock, but there's a new one there now.

Re: BVI customs [Re: GeorgeC1] #282069
05/10/2022 09:03 AM
05/10/2022 09:03 AM
Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 12
Mansfield, TX
Matagorda Dude Offline
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Matagorda Dude  Offline
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Mansfield, TX
When we were there about 6 months ago, the dinghy dock was there but did not extend back to land. It was just a floating lilly pad and you would have had to swim the final 15 feet. Our crew had to scramble up the tall wall as well with luggage although there we some nice cowboys who gave them a hand up.

Re: BVI customs [Re: GeorgeC1] #282083
05/10/2022 11:14 AM
05/10/2022 11:14 AM
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 859
Georgia & South Carolina
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Deepcut Offline
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Georgia & South Carolina
Originally Posted by GeorgeC1
As I mentioned he was in the wrong but threatened with prison and a 40,000 dollar total fine is a bit much!


I agree it seemed excessive. I read the FB post as well, and it seemed a contributing issue may have been the language barrier.

I have personally seen a French delivery captain treated so rudely without any provocation.

BVI Customs and Immigration should have the goal of being an enjoyable experience for visitors (tourism is still a major portion of economy). Too often, the tourist have a negative experience due to C&I attitudes.

For the truly criminal elements, I am all for strong enforcement.


Wes
s/v Sea Tiger (2022 Lagoon 46)
www.BareBoatBVI.com

Re: BVI customs [Re: GeorgeC1] #282093
05/10/2022 01:06 PM
05/10/2022 01:06 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 6,561
GA/NC
GeorgeC1 Offline OP
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GeorgeC1  Offline OP
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GA/NC
Another poster mentioned they also had a very bad experience and were threatened at Sopers. They arrived after a long open water voyage and picked up a ball at 1:30 AM. They put up a quarantine flag and went to sleep. Waking up just after 10am they went straight into customs and were berated and threatened because they were not standing in line when customs opened that day.
G

Last edited by GeorgeC1; 05/10/2022 03:44 PM.
Re: BVI customs [Re: GeorgeC1] #282104
05/10/2022 03:37 PM
05/10/2022 03:37 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 29
Road Town
BVIslander Offline
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BVIslander  Offline
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Road Town
Our valiant and heroic BVI Customs officers are rather full of themselves, and way, way too thrilled to levy exorbitant fines. It's as if they were trying to make their Christmas bonuses. They are nothing to be proud of.

Re: BVI customs [Re: GeorgeC1] #282114
05/10/2022 05:29 PM
05/10/2022 05:29 PM
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 638
MD, USA
polaris Offline
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polaris  Offline
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Posts: 638
MD, USA
Years ago I sailed Jeannius (thanks again Mike) from Martinique to BVI, clearing in and out of 5 countries enroute. I had prepared a self-made form containing all the passport information of each crewmember, it was readily accepted in each country, stamped the passports, paid whatever and wished me a good day. Then, after an overnight passage from Antigua we pulled into JVD, sent the crew off to Corsairs for breakfast and I went to C and I. They made me fill out a form for each crewmember, containing the exact info as my form, then stapled my form to theirs. Sent me to another room, I guess Customs, and filled out a variation of the first forms and paid 70 cents - I guess it was $.10 per person!

The whole thing took so long my crew came back after having breakfast to see what had happened to me. I had spent more time checking in to BVI than in all the other 5 countries combined.


Polaris
Re: BVI customs [Re: GeorgeC1] #282133
05/11/2022 05:49 AM
05/11/2022 05:49 AM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 1,294
Colorado and Sailing the World
Maria_and_Steve Offline
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Colorado and Sailing the World
It just keeps getting worse and worse in the BVI.
As I have said numerous times in the past, real sailors (cruisers) avoid the BVI at all costs.

Re: BVI customs [Re: GeorgeC1] #282134
05/11/2022 05:58 AM
05/11/2022 05:58 AM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,162
St. Lucia
Zanshin Offline
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Zanshin  Offline
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St. Lucia
When I sailed down to the BVI just before COVID-19 I'd had an accident aboard and needed to go straight to the doctor upon arrival. I had a friend on island sort it out with the minister of Immigration before my arrival in the West End. Despite this, I was threatened with fines and jail time because the Customs minister hadn't given his permission and Customs and Immigration did not get along! So even if one thinks that permission has been granted for an exception it doesn't mean that they will adhere to it. The only time I got a break was trying to clear into Road Town. I had no dinghy (it had been stolen) and couldn't find anyone to bring me ashore. I called C&I on the VHF and when I finally reached someone and asked if I could take the boat to the dock at Nanny Cay and take a cab into town they gave me permission and things worked out.
But as others have said, the BVI have become very unwelcoming towards cruisers - both the C&I experiences and the addition of large fees and associated costs make it a less desirable location. After almost 15 years there I've relocated my boat elsewhere and don't have plans to cruise there anymore.

Re: BVI customs [Re: GeorgeC1] #282160
05/11/2022 08:53 AM
05/11/2022 08:53 AM
Joined: Apr 2019
Posts: 99
Houston, TX
Matt W Offline
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Matt W  Offline
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Houston, TX
Before the recent regulation changes which looks like it might restrict most USVI-based charter boats from visiting the BVIs, how were USVI charter boats treated by BVI customs? Similar in the treatment towards cruisers? Was it difficult to pop over for a day or two, clear in at Great Harbour, and visit JVD?

Re: BVI customs [Re: GeorgeC1] #282175
05/11/2022 09:57 AM
05/11/2022 09:57 AM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 5,648
An island state of mind
tradewinds Offline
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tradewinds  Offline
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An island state of mind
We found JVD customs a lot friendlier than West End and Road Town.

Re: BVI customs [Re: GeorgeC1] #282179
05/11/2022 10:52 AM
05/11/2022 10:52 AM
Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 100
Chesapeake Bay, USA
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Nibj Offline
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Posts: 100
Chesapeake Bay, USA
Pre-covid we had no problems (twice) at JVD.

Re: BVI customs [Re: GeorgeC1] #287517
08/19/2022 11:19 AM
08/19/2022 11:19 AM
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 638
MD, USA
polaris Offline
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polaris  Offline
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MD, USA
In going through some old sailing papers I came across my FIRST entry to BVI - March 3, 1978! We were on a Pearson 365 from St. Tropez charters in CA. The entry was at West End and the charges were:
$.90 Clearance Fee
$5.00 Harbour fee
$2.06 Overtime fee
$.60 Form 5
For a total of $8.58


Polaris
Re: BVI customs [Re: GeorgeC1] #287521
08/19/2022 11:43 AM
08/19/2022 11:43 AM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 2,390
Ill, USA
Will_L Offline
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Will_L  Offline
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Ill, USA
Looks like leadership might be changing, most likely linked to corruption than not being civil to visitors. But if there is a house cleaning, the result might leaders insisting on better treatment of visitors.

https://www.bviplatinum.com/news.php?articleId=34196

Re: BVI customs [Re: GeorgeC1] #287528
08/19/2022 12:42 PM
08/19/2022 12:42 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,382
Memphis, BVI, CT
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RatmansWife Offline
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Posts: 1,382
Memphis, BVI, CT
The COI referred to a "government official no. 1", who had hitherto not been identified, but was widely speculated.

Re: BVI customs [Re: GeorgeC1] #287600
08/20/2022 07:22 PM
08/20/2022 07:22 PM
Joined: Jun 2016
Posts: 90
S
Shifty Offline
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Shifty  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2016
Posts: 90
I would concur with Nibj and Tradewinds. Pre-Covid, we sailed from St. Thomas to JVD numerous times and have never had an issue. I wouldn't say we ever got the welcome wagon, but no grief either. Conversely, our customs experience at West End in 2020 was visibly hostile.


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