Peru, Callao: 5 months and $6000 to clear in!

Published 4 years ago

We entered Peru based on comments made on noonsite and accepted it might cost us in the region of $2000 to clear in as the benefits of land travel outweighed the cost.

So, we made all of our radio calls at 08.00 and 20.00 as advised, writing times and positions of each call. Out of, probably fifty calls all we got back was one reply of “ok ok ok” but knowing Peru is strict on procedure we did it. Then a bird hit our wind instruments and rendered them useless and beating into wind using auto helm this made things difficult, so we pulled into Isla de Afuera (excuse spelling) for repair but did not go ashore.

Approaching Ancon, which is a town just north of Callao, we could not charge batteries and once again stopped and the yacht club helped us onto a buoy. Could not fix the issue but a contact came to meet us and arrange checking in. We were shocked that the first price quoted was $5000. Which we did not have so we declined. This immediately went down to $4000 which made alarm bells ring.

After some frantic calls another contact arranged for someone to meet us at Callao where the Peruano Yacht Club is and he will help us. So we set off for Callao/La Punta and once again made all the right calls to TRAMAR – which is the authority which monitors all marine traffic in and out of any port in Peru – and believe me you have to call them allegedly 48 hours before you arrive and as you arrive at the pilot buoy.

So we get to La Punta and are advised to anchor just outside the mooring field in front of Yacht Club Peruano. After several visits from our contact and an immigration guy we thought all was good. Well, after 8 days at anchor with three young children on board my wife was going mad. But procedure is procedure and we complied….until the agent who we had paid $800 for check in and out, told us it should be done by the weekend which was three days away! My wife is not one to mince words and in a matter of seconds the agent was on his way with our passports to get them stamped by immigration so we could at least leave the boat.

He returned later that day with our passports and two officials who worked for sanitation to inspect the boat for health and hygiene. They wore hard hats, steel toe capped boots, safety glasses etc etc.. They came into the boat and sat down and asked, do you have roach? Do you have mice? I answered accordingly and was then asked to pay $500 for my certificate, which of course would only last six months. What a joke, but hey-ho, it can’t get any worse. Or could it?

Then we were advised that we had been tracked by the Peruvian navy using our AIS and we had pulled into a port without clearing in and got a fine of $150. Okay, we did explain our issues, but there is nobody to complain to so we took it on the chin and paid the $150.

Then we had the procedure of temporarily importing the boat. We had an import agent who would help us for free as the costs started to add up. Then the bombshell, we had to lodge $53600 with Sunat which covers the IVA/VAT should we not leave the country. I reached into my back pocket and found all I had was small change. Our friend said he would insure our bond with a company that deals with such issues for a small fee.

One must understand that this all takes time and when all was not complete after 30 days we were told we had to leave the following morning and sail 200 miles out and then come back to start the whole process again. We went to Sunday and protested that the weather was not fit and it was not necessary, but apparently it was. So we told them we would leave the following morning. We left into pretty poor weather, making the leaving call to TRAMAR and despite the 40 knot winds we got back to La Punta three days later having made some 50 ish calls to TRAMAR to announce our arrival. We got one reply, started giving our info and a local stepped on our channel. We could not make further contact.

So we get back, our agent meets us and requires another $600 to clear us out before our trip and clear us back in. I protested, but there was nothing we could do. Then he said we had to pay a fine for not telling Sunal that we were leaving. Another $150 – although I did tell them, I did not advise them to close the paperwork of importation, another joke! Then he said we had to pay a fine as we did not advise TRAMAR of our arrival 48 hours before our arrival. I asked if TRAMAR had SSB as this was the only way I could possibly contact them and he said no, you have to send an email. Obviously I could not do this and once again protested to no avail.

We had to go to the UK for a hospital appointment, so left all procedures in the hands of our agents. When we returned we were once again told we had to leave because some authority could not find a gas identification plate on our refrigerator compressor which advised of the gas used. The fact that it was sitting next to an identical item which had an r134 sticker on it was beyond their intelligence to assume its the same. So, off we go again.

We had to pay a further $600 to our agent and by this time sanitation had to do another check asking for things like ships medical records and manuals…la la la! In all it has cost us $6000 to clear in.

The system is not geared for yachts but super tankers and I have no clue who takes the money but I was told of several bribes that had to be paid. We tried our best to comply with their regulations but it almost impossible with several people on the take. You never know who you are dealing with and what they will do, so even if you do thing to the letter of the law someone wants their little bit and can make things very expensive for you.

It took 5 months to clear in and our weather window is looming so will be leaving, thank goodness.

On the up-side, Yacht Club Peruano has been the gem in this country, it is friendly, helpful and a great example of a yacht club with optimist, sunfish, lightning and snipe training and a good J24 fleet.

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