Bureaucracy

An ordinary person is tied to the terrestrial life with an infinite number of invisible connections and, having to leave, must decide whether to finally tear up everything or leave it only for a while. Examples: telephone contract, electricity, gas, flat, car, income statement, these are only the most common.

If the voyage takes a long time, then renting or renting an apartment will help replenish the budget. However, you can rent an apartment only to people you trust, who will not allow you to turn off the electricity or cut off the gas, will keep the house in order and ready to leave when you return. If the journey is not very long and you do not want to close the contracts, you can entrust their payment to the bank. It may seem fiction, but AEM, Milan’s municipal energy organization, and perhaps not only it, if asked, suspends billing for electricity and gas during the absence period. Upon returning, it is enough to notify them and everything resumes. When they told me about it, I asked to repeat three times, it seemed so strange to me!

“No problem, when you return, call and we will start sending the bills again.” - and so it was.

Usually, going to sea, the house is closed and the car is sold. If it is decided not to sell the car, you can stop insurance. It is enough to put the car on a private plot and return the insurance company ticket. The policy is suspended and the remaining part of the paid insurance can be used upon return. The minimum suspension period is three months.

There are many other problems that need to be resolved before sailing, but know that as soon as you find yourself outside the territorial waters, absolutely no one will be worried about the state of your safety equipment, RINA inspection, payment of a VHF subscription and insurance. You yourself will take care of your safety as directly interested, and of course, do it better than it is done here, with the help of laws and orders, often meaningless.

Only occasionally, in some ports you may be asked for documents on the boat, most often to write out the data, and sometimes they even ask if you have a call sign, and nothing more. But remember, outside of Italy it can be very difficult to go through the bureaucratic procedures for RINA technical inspection , security controls and so on. If they are overdue during the voyage, when returning to Italy, it is better to warn the captainery of the first Italian port in advance, where you plan to stop and agree on a resumption. We did so, returning from the Around the World to the "Vecchietto." We went to the island of Procida and in the captainery, where we wrote in advance, straightened all the documents. At least we thought so. So far, in the waters under the jurisdiction of another captainery, they did not stop us at night and did not demand a debris registration log and insurance for an outboard motor! It would be nice if, with the unification of European laws, such tyranny has sunk into oblivion.

A few years ago in Australia, we changed the boat. For the sale of our old schooner, it was enough to write on a sheet of our data, the data of the buyer, the price and put the signatures of both parties. With this sheet, the new owner paid two percent of the tax on the cost and ... everything: the old Barca Pulita became Australian.

When we bought a new boat, there, in Australia, from the family   couples from Germany, who decided to stop circumnavigation, did not even have to pay import duties. It was enough to issue the same sheet, after which we lowered the German flag and raised the Italian one. Just, isn't it? It is a pity, but with us it looks fantastic. I already think about techcenterspaper and rivers of money that will be needed when we bring this boat to Italy.

Insurance outside the Mediterranean is becoming a problem. Its cost increases as you move away from Mare Nostrum, and insurance companies want to know where you intend to swim, at what time, the detailed route and stops. It is difficult, expensive and we, for many years, decided to do without it.

- And if something happens?

- And if you fall into a hurricane?

- And if you come across a ship?

Many in this guarantee society criticize our choice. I remember well the controversy that had befallen on Fogar, who himself was an insurer. When his “Syrprise” sank, it turned out that he was not insured.

Our choice is absolutely personal and prompted by a simple calculation: having paid insurance for twenty years outside the Mediterranean, we would spend an amount equivalent to the cost of the boat. For Gibraltar everything seems more dangerous, but in fact there are much fewer ships there and the danger of a collision is greatly reduced.

But everything is completely different if we talk about meteorological conditions. If the route passes through zones with cyclone risk, the likelihood of accidents increases, even at anchorage or on the ground. We know cases when our friends were compensated for the damage on the basis of the estimates only, while others, to this day, have been waiting for several months, stuck in the port, when money will come to repair the boat. Apparently it depends on the place where the accident occurred, on the availability of experts and shipyards cooperating with insurance companies. In short, if you have an insurance policy and there is a risk of an accident, try to suffer it better in Tahiti than in Haiti.

Although the number of boats with insurance has been increasing recently. Apparently, insurance companies have simplified procedures and adjusted prices. But it also suggests that the well-being of people traveling by boat has grown. As for health insurance, we already wrote about it in the relevant chapter on health. To summarize: medical insurance is only useful in countries such as the United States, where public medicine does not exist. If you really want to be insured, accident insurance is more useful.


Visas and permits

The problem of visas may seem like the biggest bureaucratic problem, in fact it is very banal. There are many countries for entry into which a visa obtained at the consulate is required in advance. However, arriving by sea, it is almost always possible to do without it.

Going to the first AAC, we did not know about it and went crazy running between the consulates of Venezuela, Ecuador and Panama with documents, photographs, forms, declarations of solvency in order to get visas in advance. Works and money spent in vain, because we never needed these visas, and the most interesting thing is that even the consulate officials did not know about it!

When the boat enters the territorial waters of the country, it is enough to enter the customs port, raise the yellow flag and the port authorities will issue temporary visas to the whole crew, allowing them to stay in the country for some time. This is a simple and fairly quick procedure, developed over the centuries and applied both to seamen of merchant ships and to yacht crews.

Of course, there are exceptions. Examples: India and Australia, requiring all to have a pre-entry consular visa.

The first time we arrived in Australia ten years ago. We had a government publication, which stated that for captains and yacht owners a visa is not required. The year before we spent among the happyislands and serene people where bureaucratic problems have not yet been invented and where any difficulty is resolved with a smile. After three weeks of sailing in the Salomon Archipelago and the Clarence Strait, between uninhabited lands and erratic currents, arrived in Darwin, the only city on the wild north coast of Australia, and the clash with the bureaucratic machine was especially painful. It was not a season, and perhaps our arrival aroused some suspicion. We were told to stand on the customs buoy and the boat, along with us on board, was literally sifted through a sieve by a team of customs officers for two days. They found things that we lost a few months ago, dismantled lockers and bulkheads, we did not even suspect that they could be dismantled, and found nothing but our stocks of gin bought in Venezuela, which should have been enough before returning to the Mediterranean. After customs control, it was the turn of an immigration officer who had to stamp our passports and finally let us go ashore. And it turns out that the rules have changed and we do not have visas!


Severe violation!

Bali is in the voyage week, so if you cannot go ashore, we could leave and try to explain this to the official.

- It is impossible, the customs procedure is already open and cannot be closed if you do not enter the visa number.

It took two days to find a solution to the problem: a temporary visa, as an exception, for ten days.

There are also countries that absolutely can not go, such as Saudi Arabia or Burma, but even they can stay in an emergency. You need to get close to the port and request permission to enter VHF, explaining the reason. No one will refuse to stop for 72 hours for repair or medical assistance.

In the Red Sea, we met the French, who came to Saudi Arabia, because the girl began to paresis hands after diving. They were sent to an empty mole, free medical care was provided, the boat was supplied with food and fuel, although no one except the patient, who was hospitalized for three days, did not set foot on the ground.

Arriving in a new country, you need to call the port authorities on the radio and request instructions. Usually, instructions are given to anchor in the customs area and to wait on board a delegation consisting of a customs officer, an immigration officer and a port employee, and sometimes also an official of the sanitary service. In Australia, they are very harsh. Even when approaching the shore, you are controlled by a Coast Guard aircraft and tracks until you arrive. It is strictly forbidden to go ashore before undergoing sanitary control and until a Quaranteen official inspects the boat, he will withdraw all fresh food and products containing at least one milk molecule. But in most other countries, the procedures are calmer and there are even places where no one will answer your request on the radio, and you, having gone ashore, will go in search of the necessary offices and forms. Sometimes it's simple, sometimes long and dreary, but all this is also part of the game.

Once we stopped at one of the islands of Tonga. Knowing that the port is customs, we expected to go through the entry procedure. Going ashore, it turned out that the only customs officer on the island went to the mountains to hunt goats and return in about three days. However, he asked to inform the crews of the arriving boats not to worry, calmly go ashore and go where they please.

Another time we had to go out with Fiji. It was Friday afternoon. But in the morning the immigration officer, who was supposed to stamp the passports, went to the nearest island to control the fishing vessel, at least that would beVersion was. Since it was Friday, he decided to stay on the island on the weekend, which, quite by chance, included Monday, due to the queen's birthday. Therefore, until Tuesday morning it was impossible to get an exit stamp in your passport!

In addition to a passport that is valid for at least six months, in some countries, a document that must always be kept on board is clearance. This is something like a certificate of legality of departure, issued in the last country from which the vessel leaves, which in the next country of arrival guarantees the authorities that there are no debts for you. In Europe and the Mediterranean, this practice does not apply unless specifically required, with the exception of Gibraltar. If you go across the Atlantic from Canar, do not forget to get clearance and put a stamp on your passport about leaving Europe.


Money

Do not wait for the inadequate response of the fuel tanker in response to your credit card payment, in order to realize that money is still used in calculations in most parts of the world. We have credit cards and checks are the norm, but in many countries this is not the case, and there are even places where the barter system is still used. A few years ago we spent four months in Vanuatu and, except in the capital, did not use cash anywhere, only goods in exchange for food. Clothes, fishing hooks, fishing line, towels, pots in exchange for vegetables, fruits, fish, bags woven from straw, souvenirs made of wood and even piglets. Usually, in the third world countries, only the local currency is used, which can be bought for euros and dollars in the banks of the capital and major cities. But even in these banks, it is sometimes difficult to accept credit cards. Therefore, in addition to the two credit cards that we hold for an emergency, we always have cash on board for the amount we plan to spend over the next six months. Someone turns out to send money to local banks, but this, in addition to obliging to stop in certain places in advance, also requires an effective banking system, both in the country of departure, and this may be the case in the receiving country, and this is very hard!


Mail and goods

A good way to receive mail during the Around the World, send it to the address of the captainery of the ports in which stops are provided. At one time, so did everyone. Now there is an e-mail and this little magical and romantic process of flipping through dozens of envelopes, with stamps from different countries, in search of letters from the house, is a thing of the past.

Receiving packages with books, equipment and spare parts from the other end of the world is quite simple. There is even an advantage that a boat traveling around the world in any country is considered transit and can receive goods without customs duties. When we changed the boat in Australia, we discharged from America, England, Denmark and Italy a huge amount of materials that could not be found on the spot and which cost a fortune. We bought all these goods in the countries where they were produced, without VAT, as they were sent abroad, and did not pay a cent of the customs duty, as they were intended for the transit boat.


Weapons on board

You can come to any country of the world with a weapon on board, but you must always declare it. On entry forms, there is always the question of the availability of weapons. But declaring often involves the confiscation of weapons upon arrival.u and return it when leaving the country. But after all, the ports of arrival and departure do not always coincide. In addition, the appointment of weapons on board, except for the rare goat hunt, is still protection from the dangers that, if they arise, then from land and not from the sea. Therefore, temporary confiscation of weapons makes it meaningless to have it on board, of course, if in case of danger you are really ready to use it. But this is a completely different problem.

In our first round-the-world tour, we had a gun, bought it in Venezuela on a South African boat. We never declared it and no one ever looked for it. Australian customs officers, who turned the whole boat over, found him, but even paid no attention, apparently looking for something else. And in Panama, while waiting for customs control, we were so afraid that we took it to the beach and buried it in the garden of the yacht club. But the customs did not come!

We resold our Beretta in Greece to an Italian boat heading for the Caribbean without ever removing it from the oiled sock in which we were sold.

Now we have no weapons other than underwater rifles!

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