This Battle Has Been
Oct. 24, 2010: Customs Can Not Arbitrarily Board Your
Vessel! TCP is not the only
one who vehemently disagrees with Customs audacious interpretation
of the law. Mr Terry O'Gorman of the Queensland council for
Civl liberties agrees; "My view after reading the act is
that customs does not have the power to board Australian yachts
in Australian waters without the owners express permission."
Read more here.
Update as of September 09, information
an entering yacht should know; In
the last year many letters have been received and published by
TCP reporting on positive experiences entering via yacht. While
these are good to have the problem is good experience isn't yet
universal. Customs enforcement is regionally controlled. The
Queensland district has been the area of concern from the start.
Even in Queensland it seems it is also the personnel at the particular
port. Working from the same set of laws, other districts have
had no reports while Queensland has made headlines and a few
ports have had repetitive confrontations. Bundaberg exceeds the
rest. Complicating the matter there, a marina manager is on record
stating that boats should be subject to the harsh treatment experienced
by some boats there (forced removal
of crew with destructive search) and that any port that doesn't
operate similarly is derelict in their duty. An official in the
local sailing club that is involved in international regattas
is reported to be a former AQIS agent herself and supportive
of the harsh treatment of entering yachts. This person is on
record as stating as long as most entering yachts are
treated well there should be no complaint! False rumours concerning
persons charged by customs at Bundaberg have been propagated
through the web via forums with sources claimed to be from Bundaberg.
Bundaberg is an excellent choice for entry for every other reason
except the bureaucracy and a few local business people. Once
in town and up river, boats will find one of the best seasonal
shelters and provisioning centres in Australia. Most boats do
report positively but it does seem to be a matter of chance..
do you feel lucky? If not, expect hostility from some of the
locals (see TCP # 34 pgs10-11
and TCP # 35 pgs10-11-12). Brisbane
and Cairns have also had multiple negative reports. Gladstone,
Mackay and Bowen have no reports and Townsville and Mooloolaba
have nothing serious on their record. None of the vessels charged
by customs over the last several years has been charged with
any offence other than administrative. In fact one has to look
back over a decade ago to find a noteworthy smuggling reported
via yacht whilst reports of heroin or cocaine arrests come from
and commercial shipping depots daily. Yacht crews are extraordinarily
law abiding. To view some of the
positive accounts of entry see the letters section in TCP
29 , 33 and the latest issue,
# 38 has a good report from a
Norwegian vessel. TCP reports have been factual! TCP has
never been forced to make a correction in reportage on any subject
due to error or neglect. However, in an article taking information
from Bundaberg sources on Customs issues, the magazine Cruising
Helmsman, was requested and did correct errors regarding
comments mistakenly attributed and to pay TCP for legal costs.
(TCP# 35 pgs 4 &10) IT
should be noted... from the material above that most Customs
personnel are decent people. What the above does show is that
bad legislation in the hands of idiots is dangerous.
This is a collection
of research and yacht crew's reported experiences with Australian
This is a report about what happened
when heavy handed Customs agents harassed a vessel skippered
by an attorney that had helped write the rules they were breaking
at the time!
TCP wrote to customs with questions
of why and how. Their answer may not add up, you decide.
Why didn't anyone know about this
change of rule? Want to see what Customs considered appropriate
publication? You may not believe it!
Legislation via Courts.
Conjecture on how Customs used
strategic court cases to invent law that wasn't there.
Yachties Attack Queensland!
A light hearted piece that gives
Customs all the respect they deserve... if not more.
other countries Compare and Why Customs is Wrong
TCP examines the background of
the Customs regs and compares with other countries, US, Israel,
The above articles and pages are representative
of the reports TCP has been getting over the last several years.
This is not a complete assemblage by any means and when there
is time it may be expanded to include other articles published.