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Belgium: Confusion over Red (marked) Diesel - The Latest . . .

By val/CA — last modified Jul 30, 2017 03:01 PM
The confusion pervailing over boats found to have traces of red diesel in their fuel tanks, hopefully, has been sorted. At least temporarily.

Published: 2017-07-29 23:00:00
Countries: Belgium

Red Diesel Use in Belgium

News Report by The Cruising Association (CA): Regulations and Technical Services Group (RATS)

UPDATE: 28/07/2017 - CA wins change of heart from Belgian government

The Belgian Ambassador to the UK has told the CA that Belgium will not fine boats found to be carrying red diesel, from now until the issue has been discussed by the EU Committee on Excise Duty on September 18.

The CA had received reports that yachts visiting Belgium were:

  • tested for red diesel in tanks and fined €500 if any traces were found, even if receipts were provided
  • inspected for paperwork, including Schengen crew lists.

As a result, RATS (the Regulations and Technical Services Group) wrote to the Belgian Ambassador in London and Belgian Customs in Brussels to ask for an explanation for their change of conduct. Our contact in Nieuwpoort could give RATS no explanation of the sudden Customs action but now confirm that RATS advice, agreed with them three years ago, will now be honoured.

The CA now recommends that any members planning to visit Belgian ports carry receipts for all diesel purchased in the past two years, which should have tax paid on 100% of fuel. They should also carry a Schengen crew list, and if possible a print-out of the full text of the email from the Belgian Ambassador in this attachment. Our advice will be revised if necessary after September 18.

For the complete text of the advice offered to UK boats visiting Belgium (or other member states of the EU) see this CA document.

UPDATE: 06/07/2017 - RATS new advice to members - not to call into Belgian ports

RATS has heard of other yachts being fined as well as our CA Members informing us about their friend's plight. These friends have now told RATS in detail of their traumatic experience with the Belgian officials.

We have spoken again with our Belgian marina contact who can offer no reason for, nor why no warning has been given about the non-observance of the agreed 'understanding' of their position over UK yachts with red engine diesel.

The sudden change this year of their conduct and apparent random heavy fining for vessels having even residual traces of red diesel engine fuel, together with no guarantee of the Belgian officials adhering to the original RATS advice note, is unhelpful.

All of this has made RATS review the situation again. They have concluded that they must now raise their level of advice to Members not to call into Belgian ports.

In the meantime RATS will continue to monitor the position and post any further advice.

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