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Old 08-02-2007, 10:23 AM   #1
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Some yachts have had heavy fines for not giving Australian Customs enough notice that they were entering.

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As an Australian, I am ashamed and furious at the way visiting yachties have been treated. I doubt Osama Bin Laden is going to arrive by yacht.

The rules are buried on the customs web site:

http://www.customs.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=4791

It says:

Quote:
Information for yachts travelling to australia - let us know you're coming

The Master of a vessel arriving in Australia is required by law to give notice of impending arrival not later than 96 hours before arrival. Penalties may apply for failure to do so.

There are several agencies interested in your arrival - principally Customs, Quarantine and Immigration.

96 hours notice may be given by either;

* Sending an email to yachtreport@customs.gov.au:

* Sending a fax to +61 2 6275 6331;

* Phoning the Australian Customs National Communications Centre on +61 3 9244 8973.

You will need to provide the following information

* The name of your craft;

* Your intended first port of arrival;

* Your estimated arrival time;

* Your last four ports;

* The details of people on board including name, date of birth, nationality and passport number;

* Details of any illness or disease recently encountered;

* If you have any animals on board;

* If you have any firearms on board.
My tips:

- Phone, fax or email before you leave the previous port, even if you are a long way from Australia.

One captain was fined as 36 hours notice was deemed inadequate, even tho he had no means to send a message while in transit.

- If you send a fax, keep the send receipt. If you send an email, ask for a read receipt and cc yourself.

One captain had the experience of Customs denying it had received his email (tho he could later prove they had).

Australia is a lovely place and great for sailing. The natives are overwhelmingly friendly.

Please do not let a few over-eager officials put you off.

cheers

duckie
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Old 08-02-2007, 02:15 PM   #2
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I have sent an email to Customs to ask them specifically if contact can be made by SSB for those vessels without email or satphone facilities, and to ask at what distance must a yacht remain from the coast whilst waiting out the 96 hour notice of impending arrival.

I will post the relevent parts of their response as soon as it is to hand.

David.
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Old 08-02-2007, 04:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KiwiAussie View Post
This will be interesting, because the answer you may receive may be the custom's employee's definition of "arrival". Eg: "arrival" to me defines "coming ashore" (i.e. docking/row boat), whereas to another it may define "entering oz waters" (i.e. 12nm).
Can't be because that would prohibit nocent passage which is garanteed under UNCLOS.

Aye

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Old 08-02-2007, 08:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KiwiAussie View Post
How well is this "rule" followed by jurisdictions?

In principle, I would agree with you. But in practice, I wouldn't put anything past the Australian government given the political climate of today.
I assume Oz follows this to the letter. I have never received any information of a responsible western country not adhereing to UNCLOS.

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Old 08-02-2007, 10:45 PM   #5
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You can be guaranteed that Australian Customs, Immigration, Quarantine will follow the absolute letter of the law, and that the law will comply with all international conventions. What we need here is nothing more than the official interpretation of the law.

There can be no doubt that in the lead up to a Federal election, a degree of zealotry will be exercised. This is not necessarily pleasant, but it is no different to a police force manning extra alcohol breath testing stations for motorists at Christmas time.

Visiting or returning yachts can be assured that the rules will always be applied, and that they will be applied without favour. You will never be asked for a bribe or 'extra' fees of any sort when clearing into or out of Oz...and any attempt to speed the process by greasing palms will cause you be be very heavily scrutinised.

Oz bureaucrats may be on slow filter at times, but they are generally courteous...and always honest.

The only impediment to processing may occur at the hands of the 'Tall Poppy' syndrome. Australians, not being subservient people, take great delight in cutting down the 'tall poppy', so please treat people in the way you want to be treated and you won't end up being sent to the back of the queue.

David
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Old 08-03-2007, 03:13 AM   #6
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Hi all,

This very pleasant and speedy response was just received from Oz Customs and should clear up any misconceptions about cruising yachts entering Australia. There will always be some unpleasant exceptions to the norm, such is the nature of bureaucracies, and there will occasionally be unpleasant encounters with officials (more so in some northeastern ports than others), but by-and-large, adherence to the law will result in a pleasant stay in Oz....and that is what we all strive to achieve.

Hi David,



Thank you for your email.



The Master of a vessel arriving in Australia is required by law to give notice of impending arrival NOT LATER than 96 hours before arrival.
Customs does realise that not all vessels are fitted with the latest communication equipment. For these vessel this requirement seems to cause confusion as people interpret it as notification must be given 96 hours prior to arrival. This is not the case. This is the minimum requirement. I'll explain this with an example below.



A vessel is travelling from USA to Australia.The time frame is one month. The Master could report his impending arrival to Australia prior to departing USA. This would mean that he gives 1 months notice which meets the above criteria.
Other alternatives is the Master could report his impending arrival from one of the ports he stops at on his way to Australia or prior to his departure from his last port before arriving in Australia. This may even be a week prior to his arrival, as long as the estimated sailing time is a minimum of 96 hours. Again this meets the above criteria for reporting to Customs. 96 hours notice may be given by either;
  • Sending an email to yachtreport@customs.gov.au:
  • Sending a fax to +61 2 6275 6331;
  • Phoning the Australian Customs National Communications Centre on +61 3 9244 8973.
You will need to provide the following information
  • The name of your craft;
  • Your intended first port of arrival;
  • Your estimated arrival time;
  • Your last four ports;
  • The details of people on board including name, date of birth, nationality and passport number;
  • Details of any illness or disease recently encountered;
  • If you have any animals on board;
  • If you have any firearms on board.
Customs does not have access to SSB/HF radio communications. The preferred radio communication is through VHF.



Full details of requirements and contact information can be located on our web site www.customs.gov.au by following these links.Left hand side of Home page click on travellers then on yachts travelling to and departing from australia.
The ports of entry link provide contact details for Customs and the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) in the port of entry. Plus detail information in relation to the required Boarding Station for arrival.



If by chance the vessel arrives prior to lapsing of the 96 hours of arrival it can wait out the time anywhere it is safe to do so. If due to dangerous seas or their is a medical emergency etc occurs then the vessel is able to progress to a safe haven or the Boarding Station. All that is required is that Customs is informed at the first possible opportunity.
The 'Q' flag should be raised upon entry into the port. Customs, Quarantine and Immigration clearance must be completed prior to going ashore.
  • Please stay on board. No persons other than a Quarantine or Customs officer is allowed to board your craft, nor can any person, animal or article leave the craft until you have been given full clearance;
  • Depending on your arrival time, Customs and Quarantine may require all persons to remain on board overnight before clearing you the following day;
  • Don't throw any waste or foodstuffs overboard while you're in Australian waters or while you are moored. Use designated quarantine disposal points;
  • Keep all food and animals secure until your vessel has been inspected by Quarantine officers;
  • Don't trade foodstuffs with other overseas vessels;
  • Keep your vessel free of insects.
To go ashore without prior clearance is an offence. Contact with other vessels in port prior to clearance is also prohibited.

Hopefully this has answered your concerns. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.


Regards,

Name and contact details supplied

Customs Information and Support Centre
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Old 08-03-2007, 03:58 AM   #7
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This information is 'hot off the presses'. I see no need to question it and I accept the information contained within Australian Customs' email, without reservation. My concern is purely to enable voyaging members to more easily enter Australia, whilst complying with Government requirements.

If you have doubts about the Legislation, it would be appropriate for you to seek clarification, as I believe I did, by making private contact with Customs through their website.

Cheers

David
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Old 03-02-2008, 07:44 PM   #8
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This is crazy! But, I suppose that "the law is the law".

Quote:
Last updated: Thursday, February 28, 2008 2:49:00 PM



BUNDABERG, Australia
-- A U.S. boater visiting Australia during a world cruise has been fined $4,000, plus $15,000 in court costs, for not properly notifying Customs officials of his sailboat's planned arrival by telephone, e-mail or fax. Instead, boater James Manzari had used his VHF radio to notify Customs, 48 hours in advance.
Full story.
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Old 03-06-2008, 02:21 AM   #9
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Repeated from the anchored post of the 14th January 2008

The official position reiterated today the 14th January 2008 remains as follows (NO CHANGE) !!!

Here is the actual extract from the regulation issued by Australian Customs from their :-

http://www.customs.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=4791

Home > information for yachts travelling to Australia - let us know you're coming

Print this page

Information for yachts travelling to australia - let us know you're coming

The Master of a vessel arriving in Australia is required by law to give notice of impending arrival not later than 96 hours before arrival. Penalties may apply for failure to do so.

If the journey, from a place outside Australia, is likely to take less than ninety-six (96) hours then the below sliding scale is used based on the steaming time from the previous foreign port (section 64(5)(cool.gif(i) of the Customs Act- Customs Regulations section 27).

Likely duration of journey

Specified period

1.

72 hours or more but less than 96 hours :- 72 hours

-------------------------------------------------------------

2.

48 hours or more but less than 72 hours :- 48 hours

-------------------------------------------------------------

3.

24 hours or more but less than 48 hours :- 24 hours

-------------------------------------------------------------

4.

Less than 24 hours :- 12 hours

-------------------------------------------------------------

There are several agencies interested in your arrival - principally Customs, Quarantine and Immigration.

96 hours notice may be given by either;

* Sending an email to yachtreport@customs.gov.au:

* Sending a fax to +61 2 6275 6331;

* Phoning the Australian Customs National Communications Centre on +61 3 9244 8973.

You will need to provide the following information

* The name of your craft;

* Your intended first port of arrival;

* Your estimated arrival time;

* Your last four ports;

* The details of people on board including name, date of birth, nationality and passport number;

* Details of any illness or disease recently encountered;

* If you have any animals on board;

* If you have any firearms on board.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Suggest you keep a copy of email or fax sent to customs

--------------------------------------------------------------------

IGNOR any other information as mere wishful thinking - follow the rules !
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Old 03-13-2008, 10:33 PM   #10
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And another:

Quote:
Australia. New Zealand yachtsman fined for failing to report arrival in Queensland

Wednesday, 12 March 2008


A yachtsman appeared in Mackay District Court yesterday (11 March 2008) and was fined $2,500 for failing to report the intended arrival of his vessel and crew into Australia.

Mr Timothy Foreman, a New Zealand citizen, was charged under section 64 Impending Arrival Report, and section 64ACB Crew Reports of the Customs Act 1901.

Mr Foreman arrived into the port of Bundaberg from New Caledonia on 28 November 2006 but failed to provide the necessary notice to Customs prior to his arrival.

The court convicted Mr Foreman on the two charges and ordered that he pay a fine of $2,500 and court costs of $1,417.

Customs National Director Enforcement and Investigations, Roxanne Kelley, said that the case highlighted the importance of recreational yachts following correct reporting procedures when arriving into Australia.

"This result sends a strong message to masters of yachts that they need to provide proper notice to Customs prior to arrival."

"Provision of this information is essential for Customs to perform its role of protecting Australia's borders from illegal activity," Ms Kelley said.

A ship's master must provide notice of intended arrival to Customs not later than 96 hours before arrival into Australia, and must arrive at a proclaimed port.

Further information on these reporting requirements, including reporting times if the voyage is less than 96 hours, is available at http://www.customs.gov.au/
From: http://www.bymnews.com/news/newsDetails.php?id=23710

Take note - the law is the law!
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Old 07-11-2009, 10:35 AM   #11
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I have been assured that if you looked like arriving earlier than your expected arrival day and time you could say anchor off an island not go ashore not have visitors and then find your way to the customs dock on the advised day. If bad weather is imminent and you consider you may be endanger your yacht and crew there are rules that allow you to enter but be aware there will be a big fight to justify IE cyclone illness etc.

Another way is to say earliest day is XYX and worst case day is ZYX however I was chatted up for being late coming in to Darwin a while ago however as I pointed out to the customs office its not an airline with a flight schedule and we did you best with ttide and wind aginst us. He had Absolutely no idea about cruising or any weather ramifications etc.

Stupid rule and if the government years ago had not dumped the coastal HF stations we would no be in this mess

Ross
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Old 09-10-2009, 09:03 AM   #12
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Hi, When we left to go to NC the Aust customs did point out that you could send an email from the port captains office or marina before we left to go back to Aust. We had no problems & they were very courteous on board, As were AQIS. BUT I think yachts arriving in Aust should be aware of the AQIS fees. One example of after hour charges in Townsville. AU$660.00 for arriving on a Saturday. This about 2 weeks ago. That's a lot of cruising money for me.

LTCruiser.
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Old 10-14-2010, 12:12 PM   #13
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Hello

We cleared Australian customs this week, they are not making any allowance for any shortfall in notification / policy.

We made notification at Alitou as per policy

We moved onto a remote location in the Calvidos Chain awaiting weather

Whilst there we attended the opening of a new schoolhouse built by a group of cruising Ausie boats (Cruise Aiders)

One of the volunteers had traveled up on a boat that was going on and needed a lift back to Australia and we were going that way

His passport was in order so we helped out

HOWEVER

Australian customs are currently bringing action against us in the way of a heavy fine ($5000)????

The additional crew was not on the crew list in the notification, we do not have email on board and was in a remote location.

They displayed no intrest in the extra crew and checked him in without problem

He left the boat no questions asked, he was Australian citizen with a correct passport

They interviewed us and are pursuing legal action against us

Be aware of Australian Customs if all the dots are not in the correct place they will prosecute without consideration or commensense
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Old 03-23-2013, 05:26 AM   #14
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Don't see why anyone would want to visit such a uptight country.
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