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New Rules for Yachts Visiting Fiji - June 2008

By Sue Richards last modified Jun 11, 2008 07:40 AM

Published: 2008-06-11 07:40:28
Countries: Fiji

Effective from 1 April 2008

It now seems that the political situation is changing in Fiji, and the new government are beginning to implement new rules that do indeed affect cruising yachtsmen. Below are the regulations as they currently stand:

First, you cannot re-enter Fiji with your vessel, regardless of previous length of stay, for a period of 9 (nine) months after your vessels departure without incurring import duty. This is based on the value of the boat and amount of time you wish to spend in the country and may be equal to 27% of the value of the boat plus 12.5% VAT levied on the total of assessed valuation plus duty.

Return due to unavoidable circumstances, such as mechanical problems, stress of weather etc. will be exempt.

This is of particular note to any vessel desiring to visit Fiji, spend the cyclone season in NZ, and then returning to Fiji to cruise further.

Second, no mention was made of the possibility of applying for a 3 (three) month extension to the 9 (nine) month duty-free stay. In a memo, the Minister of Finance committed that, upon application, "this will be granted except in the most extreme cases".

The announcement of the new regulations can be viewed here. Thanks to Michael Homsany and Susanne Ames for updates.

Other sources we have contacted have informed us that the maximum penalty for not checking out with Customs, to move from one Fiji port to another, has been increased from F$50 to F$5000 (with 25% being the fine for the 1st offence, 50% for the 2nd offence, and so on). A yacht which attempted to check out from Lautoka and was told he didn't need to, was fined F$1250.

The feedback from cruisers is that the political situation in Fiji feels volatile and may change again, but not necessarily for the better. Anyone going to Fiji should be prepared for requirements to change, even after they have already been cleared.

Cruisers can write to:
Mr. Mahendra Chaundry
Minister of Customs
Fiji Islands Revenue & Customs Authority
Private Mail Bag
Suva

Mr. Tom Ricketts
Minister of Tourism
Suite 107, Colonial Plaza
Namaka, Nadi
PO Box 9217, Nadi Airport
Fiji Islands

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