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Fiji Clearance June 2011

By Sue Richards last modified Jun 08, 2011 01:09 PM

Published: 2011-06-08 13:09:20
Countries: Fiji

This may be mentioned elsewhere on Noonsite, it is on other web sites. Since Noonsite is one of my favorites I thought I would do an update on coming into Savusavu, Fiji in June, 2011.

Recently two boats after a tiring crossing, dropped anchor on a Sunday near the Cousteau resort a few miles short of Savusavu,Fiji. They put up their quarantine flags, did not leave the boat, and reported in the next morning into Savusavu, Fiji. Well, they were noticed and informed when clearing in that their case was under investigation and they could face substantial fines. (Fijian 5000) It took over a week, but they were overjoyed to find that they had been excused/pardoned of any fines. Moral of the story, DO NOT STOP IN FIJI WATERS BEFORE CLEARING IN.

Time your approach before entry if you do not want to pay overtime fees. I was told by a local marina in Savusavu that coming in late into the Savusavu area and anchoring in the creek mouth is acceptable after hours. I do not know of anyone personally that has done this, so user beware as always.

Boats still arrive into Fiji without sending the C2C form at least 48 hours in advance. This is a rule that has been enforce for some time. You may risk a Fijian 20,000 fine! It can be sent much earlier from the departing country and does get into Fijian database. Don't risk it, send in the form, more than once if you feel it is necessary. I faxed my form from RMI (Republic of Marshall Islands). Then later in Funafuti, Tuvalu I sent an email with an updated C2C. Consequently, I had no problems on clearing in. Getting a confirmation on the fax or email is a very good idea.

One yacht came in with extra wine and Budweiser beer. They found that Fiji will no longer “seal” those items for you to depart the country later. The import duties were far more than the original cost of the beer/wine. If they had known of this change they would have dumped it overboard before entry. Fiji bitter beer is cheap and tasty, don't bring anything in that you don't want to pay very expensive duty on. Don't try and fool them. A story I got from a Fiji customs officer was about a recent super yacht that cleared in. They tried to get around the duty, got caught and ended up paying Fijian 9000 in duties/fines. Pay close attention to the amounts, it is 4 liters of beer “OR” 4 liters of wine. Spirits are very expensive here, but the local selection wine and beer prices are quite reasonable. See Fiji Islands, the Small Guide to a Tropical Paradise.

FrenchKiss arrived at 9:30AM but with other boats ahead of me did not get a chance to clear until lunch time. They politely asked and I politely declined clearing in during the 13:00-14:00 lunch time. It is not as excessive as clearing in on holidays/weekends but does add up paying for lunches and overtime when you are on a budget as most of us are.

Medical fees are up to Fijian 172.50 this year and there is a rule pending which will add Fijian 90.00 to your entrance fees during normal hours. The rule will probably pass so be prepared to pay it on entry.

The local people here are still very friendly to visiting yachts. The restaurants in Savusavu are reasonable with great food. The local food prices are great, especially since the government dropped the Fijian currency by roughly 20%. I am very upbeat on cruising the Fiji waters. It is still a good place for yachts to visit, just have to be alert when cruising a country with a potential for civil war and their changing policies/rules. It has been said before, I will say it again. If you have weapons,drugs, or pornography, you should consider cruising some where else. They really don't want those items here.

Capt Pete
S/V FrenchKiss
Savusavu, Fiji