Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
The global site for cruising sailors
Sections
You are here: Home / Countries / Croatia / Croatia Clearance: Do so IMMEDIATELY on arrival, or risk being fined!

Croatia Clearance: Do so IMMEDIATELY on arrival, or risk being fined!

By SY Neraida — last modified Jun 02, 2017 05:50 PM
This article by SY Neraida, who arrived in the early hours of the morning at Vis after a rough passage, demonstrates how important it is to go ashore immediately on arrival in Croatia to complete clearance, whatever time of the day or night.

Published: 2015-12-17 00:00:00
Countries: Croatia

12/09/2015 - from http://syneraida.com/?p=4331

To AIS or not to AIS that is the question!!

OK, so we installed AIS on Neraida a while back and honestly it great, especially at night or in fog, but we have also encountered a darker side of AIS.

For our summer holidays we had planned to take a couple of weeks to sail from Monfalcone, Italy to Kotor, Montenegro. Of course this would involve transiting Croatian territorial waters. We would not be checking into Croatia but merely transiting their territorial waters, which shouldn’t be any problem at all. Anyway on route to Montenegro we experienced some terrible weather as well as long periods of zero wind, as a result we decided to stop at Vis and skip Montenegro all together. Our new plan was to check into Croatia in Vis then spend another 10 days slowly sailing up through the Croatian Islands.

We arrived at Vis at around midnight, but because of poor visibility a confused swell and a fierce onshore breeze we decided to wait till first light to enter the Harbour. We entered the harbour at around 0630 and had the anchor set by 0650 (the customs dock was not available). We we’re both exhausted after a couple of nights of very little sleep and believing that the customs office would not be open until 0800 at the earliest we decided to get an hours sleep. Unfortunately this turned into a little under 2 hours sleep. We then inflated the tender and I motored in with the appropriate paperwork and passports.

On arrival (at around 0915) I found the nearest policeman and asked him where the customs office was, to which he replied that I must go to the Capetanaria first and proceeded to give me directions. I handed over the appropriate documents and money at the Capetanaria, received the appropriate permits and then made my way to the police and customs, by this time it was nearly 1000. On arrival at the police station I was immediately asked why it had taken me more than 3 hours to present myself to the police. They were not very friendly and even after my explanation they insisted that I must call them immediately on arrival, when I said I didn’t have a phone I could call them on, they instructed me that I must call 112 (the emergency number) from a payphone on land to inform them of my arrival. I could not believe they were asking me to call an emergency number to advise of my arrival into the country. I asked if I could inform them by VHF to which they replied that I could not. I then asked them how they knew I had arrived. It was at this point they explained they had a national tracking center that had been tracking us on AIS since we entered Croatian waters. I was amazed that they had gone to such lengths, they even had the exact time (to the minute) that I had stopped moving in the harbour of Vis.

I asked why they had tracked me and they said they tracked all yachts for security and border control reasons (no mention of safety), apparently they are trying to become part of the Schengen area so they have to demonstrate strict boarder controls. I was going to point out that anyone wanting to enter the country illegally or who posed a security risk probably would not be using AIS and would not bother checking in at all, but at this point I decided it was better to keep quiet.

Needless to say we were fined!! Now, I know technically I was in the wrong, I should have tried to check in immediately, but I honestly did not think a couple of hours delay (especially so early in the morning) would incur such penalties, we did not go ashore shopping or drinking before checking in, in fact the very first person I sought out when I landed the tender at the dock was a policeman!

I am saddened that even the sea is not safe from surveillance, one of the last truly free places in the world is a little less free. And worse than that, the very systems that are supposed to be there to keep us all safe are being used to enforce penalties.

As a side note, when the police officer pulled out the “fines book” I did notice that every carbon copy that he flicked past to get to a fresh page seemed to have the same details, and fine amount, so either this was the “late to check in” fines book or they had already fined a lot of other people before us for the same reason!!

I also read later on Noonsite – Croatia formalities that other people have received similar attitudes, similar responses and in some cases much larger fines!!

So the question is now, should we (Cruisers) turn off our AIS transmissions and just set our transponders to receive? I’ll leave that question open, I will say however that I will keep Neraida’s AIS on for now, because I believe it is a real benefit to safety, but be in no doubt, I abhor the use of this technology for tracking and “security” reasons!

Share |
Countries
Albania
Algeria
American Samoa
Angola
Anguilla
Antarctica
Antigua & Barbuda
Argentina
Aruba
Ascension Island
Australia
Azores
BIOT (Chagos)
Bahamas
Bahrain
Barbados
Belgium
Belize
Bermuda
Bonaire
Bosnia
Bouvetoya
Brazil
British Virgin Islands
Brunei
Bulgaria
Cambodia
Canada
Canary Islands
Cape Verdes
Cayman Islands
Channel Islands
Chile
China
Christmas Island
Cocos Keeling
Colombia
Comoros
Cook Islands
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cuba
Curacao
Cyprus
Denmark
Djibouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic
East Timor (Timor Leste)
Easter Island
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Eritrea
Estonia
Falkland Islands
Faroe Islands
Federated States of Micronesia
Fiji
Finland
France
French Guiana
French Polynesia
French Subantarctic Territory
Galapagos
Gambia
Georgia
Germany
Gibraltar
Greece
Greenland
Grenada
Guadeloupe
Guam
Guatemala
Guinea-Bissau
Guyana
Haiti
Hawaii
Heard, McDonald & Macquarie Islands
Honduras
Hong Kong
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Ivory Coast
Jamaica
Japan
Jordan
Juan Fernandez Islands
Kenya
Kiribati
Kuwait
Latvia
Lebanon
Libya
Lithuania
Macau
Madagascar
Madeira
Malaysia
Maldives
Malta
Marion & Prince Edward Island
Marshall Islands
Martinique
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mayotte
Mexico
Monaco
Montenegro
Montserrat
Morocco
Mozambique
Myanmar (Burma)
Namibia
Nauru
Netherlands
New Caledonia
New Zealand
New Zealand's Subantarctic Islands
Nicaragua
Niue
Norfolk Island
Northern Marianas
Norway
Oman
Palau (Belau)
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Peru
Philippines
Pitcairn Island
Poland
Portugal
Puerto Rico
Qatar
Reunion Island
Romania
Russia
Saba
Samoa
Sao Tome and Principe
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Sint Maarten
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
Somalia
South Africa
South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands
South Korea
Spain
Spanish Virgin Islands
Sri Lanka
St Barts
St Helena
St Kitts & Nevis
St Lucia
St Martin
St Pierre & Miquelon
St Vincent & the Grenadines
Statia
Subantarctic & Southern Ocean Islands
Sudan
Suriname
Sweden
Syria
Taiwan
Tanzania
Thailand
Tokelau
Tonga
Trinidad & Tobago
Tristan da Cunha
Tunisia
Turkey
Turks & Caicos
Tuvalu
US Virgin Islands
USA
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
Uruguay
Vanuatu
Venezuela
Vietnam
Wallis and Futuna
Yemen
Add/Update Your Business
If you would like your business to be listed, or the details are wrong, please update your business