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Hurricanes and Hangovers and Other Tall Tales and Loose Lies from the Coconut Telegraph by Dear Miss Mermaid

Clarifying Tortola customs law

Megayachts headed to Tortola do not need to anchor within site of customs to clear in.

Despite two vessels being fined in mid-March for heading to marinas first, megayachts that use an agent or have notified a marina of their arrival are permitted to enter, according to Comptroller Wade Smith, head of customs in Tortola.

By BVI law, the agent or marina must notify customs that a vessel has entered and not yet declared, Smith said. The captain is then required to report to customs immediately upon arrival to clear in.

Sources in Tortola have said that the fined yachts had either ventured too far from customs before clearing in or had behaved in a way that customs officials found offensive.

Smith said he was investigating the fines and noted that they were unusual occurrences.




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