Local yacht captain fined for falsifying documents
The captain of a local charter yacht, Prime Time, who departed the territory unbeknown to authorities has been charged and fined for reported breaches under the Customs Management and Duties Act.
Speaking on ZBVI Radio recently, Deputy Commissioner of Customs Clinton Romney said the offender was charged with failure to obtain a clearance in departure and for providing false documents to officials.
The Deputy Commissioner said when the vessel entered the BVI at Road Town on May 1, it was discovered that there was no record on file to show that the vessel had left the territory.
As a result, the boat operator was found to have committed a breach of the territory’s Customs regulations and health protocols.
The offender, whose name was not revealed, is said to be a Belonger and the vessel is reportedly stationed in the BVI.
“Any person that is found committing an offence under the Customs Management and Duties Act, the Commissioner has the power to compound the offence. Or if that person so chooses, they could have the matter referred to the courts,” Romney said.
The captain, in this instance, chose the latter and was subsequently fined $30,000 for the two offences.
Romney said any vessel entering or leaving the territory is required to receive written permission from the Health Department as well as the Governor’s Office.
The Deputy Commissioner further encouraged boat users and persons in the charter business in particular, that they need to visit the offices of Her Majesty’s Customs to ensure their commercial recreational licences are up to date and necessary cruising permits are secured in advance of any trips.
Romney explained that given the constraints experienced by persons during the pandemic, the government has offered a 50 percent reduction in cost for the renewal of commercial licenses. This offer has been in effect since April 15 and Romney suggested persons take advantage of this.
Renewals of licences were initially expected to end by November 1, 2020. But this was relaxed for charter vessels who had not been able to undergo or complete the process so a grace period was offered.
Ordinarily, persons can be fined either $5,000 or as much as five times the application fee if found to be in breach of the regulations.