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Changes in Pago Pago

By Sue Richards last modified Jun 01, 2009 01:06 PM

Published: 2009-06-01 13:06:30
Countries: American Samoa

There have been two recent negative changes that affect cruising boats in American Samoa.

First, the Customs fees have doubled, to $50 USD in and $50 USD out, still payable on departure. This is in addition to fees of $25 USD in and $25 USD out payable to the Port Captain. It is also in addition to the fee of $12.50 USD or more (depending on boat size) per month or any portion of a month in harbor charges. The new fees mean that the total cost for the smallest boat entering for the shortest amount of time will be $162.50 USD. Cruisers will now have to carefully weigh the benifits of receiving domestic mail from the United States, buying economical fuel and certain provisions, and obtaining relatively low-cost basic health care against these heavy fees.

Second, the dock near Seaside Market, The Toolshop and the Coin Laundry has been fenced and locked, with no dinghy access permitted. It is supposed to be used only by local sport fishing boats, but there are only two in a space that would hold about twenty. Dinghys are now being forced to use the dock to the east of that one that is very crowded with fishing boats and blocked by a gate that is frequently locked by local boat owners. If you are lucky you may be able to copy a key. Otherwise you just have to get ashore wherever you can.

Unfortunately, the whole situation has become very yacht-unfriendly and troublesome. This is unfortunate, as the Samoan people are extremely friendly and we had previously had a positive experience in Pago Pago.

Randy Baker - SV Caribee