Ostende and red diesel - BEWARE

maby

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When I was in France a couple of years ago, the fuel in the marina cost an arm and a leg.. so I walked down to the supermarket and borrowed a trolly, then I fetched four by 30 litre plastic cans and took them back to the supermarket self service.. and filled them and took them back to the boat on the shopping trolly.. Jolly hard work but it saved a fortune.
Hmmm, that's 120 litres - even if you got it completely free from the petrol station vs. 1.5 euros per litre at the marina, I would question if the savings were enough to justify the pain and sheer physical effort!
 

Boz

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We have been in the Netherlands for five weeks and have yet to see an official of any sort. I have three receipts for Dutch white at €`1,3 a ltr or £0,90.it is as you will see, cheaper than our red. Take no notice from those who don't know.
But have you just been lucky? Having said that 2 seasons ago my mate went mast up from Zeebrugge to Den Helder and also was not challenged although when I was with him we witnessed a 'boarding' by the Old Bill in the Noordzeekanal..... But as someone suggested in a previous thread it may have been drugs related. They were only on board for 10 minutes.

I hear what you say TG, we are operating outside the EU regulations, but surely common sense should prevail. British boats are always likely to have even a residue of red diesel after a North Sea crossing. Clearly if the OP is correct and I'm not doubting in any way, as the diesel was duty paid and the Skipper was still fined, we are the victims of a higher level dispute, between the burocrats of Brussels and the Department of Trade or is it just a local 'jobs worth' ?
 

sailorman

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If I were challenged, I would immediately phone Gus Lewis of the Rya for advice. That's wot I pay my dues for.
 

WFA

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Just a heads up, a friend of our was in Ostende about 2 weeks ago. He was the only UK boat there.

Had the usual visit from customs - then they asked about what diesel was in his tanks, he then produced the receipt but it didn't make any difference. Fined for having red diesel.

500 Euro fine + tankage.

New finance minister apparently and is very anti red diesel usage. They even fined two Belgian yachts with red in their tanks.
We visit Belgium and Holland most years and spent 6 weeks cruising south Holland May-June this year.
Our prefered crossing is Harwich to Zeebrugge where we have a stop over at the RBSC, then across to Vlissingen the next day dependent on weather and tide. The reverse on return. No issues experienced using red diesel which we use throughout from a 300 Lt tank.
We do keep a fuelling log and receipts and always wave to passing customs boats.
We have seen Brits re-fuelling in Dutch marinas with red diesel they have shipped from the UK and we met one couple who were fined because their fuel receipts were questionable. They managed to get the fine back after a lengthy challenge process conducted from the UK.
Make your own minds up.
I wouldn't let other people's angst spoil the pleasure of visiting either country, we have only ever experienced the greatest welcome in Belgium and the Netherlands
 

tillergirl

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I hear what you say TG, we are operating outside the EU regulations, but surely common sense should prevail. British boats are always likely to have even a residue of red diesel after a North Sea crossing. Clearly if the OP is correct and I'm not doubting in any way, as the diesel was duty paid and the Skipper was still fined, we are the victims of a higher level dispute, between the burocrats of Brussels and the Department of Trade or is it just a local 'jobs worth' ?
I have some experience of dealing with EU colleagues in a law enforcement context. There is a different mindset which applies. In the UK we have a tradition of discretion; in mainland Europe functionary law enforcement officials have no such thing as they work strictly by the codes. They don't care whether duty is paid or not; the code says that leisure craft may not use marked diesel and that's it. The fact that duty has been full paid is immaterial to them (although last year receipts did seem to help). The code was made simple and absolute and the Commission (containing some of the most pompous and irritating people I have ever meet (and that's up against some strong competition)) insisted a few years back that the UK and Ireland (and I think there was someone else) had to comply. You could argue that the current situation has been caused by the UK Government's reasonableness from which we all benefit but I guess as far as Belgium is concerned if you want to visit there, if this latest news is right, you best have cleaned tanks, pipes and white diesel to avoid the risk. I suspect the UK is at risk from some further action by the Commission for allowing us to use marked diesel even though we pay full tax on it.
 

sailorman

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I too would like to know, I'm been planning a trip to Holland for months :(
We visit Belgium and Holland most years and spent 6 weeks cruising south Holland May-June thisk year.
Our prefered crossing is Harwich to Zeebrugge where we have a stop over at the RBSC, then across to Vlissingen the next day dependent on weather and tide. The reverse on return. No issues experienced using red diesel which we use throughout from a 300 Lt tank.
We do keep a fuelling log and receipts and always wave to passing customs boats.
We have seen Brits re-fuelling in Dutch marinas with red diesel they have shipped from the UK and we met one couple who were fined because their fuel receipts were questionable. They managed to get the fine back after a lengthy challenge process conducted from the UK.
Make your own minds up.
I wouldn't let other people's angst spoil the pleasure of visiting either country, we have only ever experienced the greatest welcome in Belgium and the Netherlands
Our Dutch neighbours rafted along side us.,stated this evening that if they have to bunker red in England, as long as they keep the fuel receipt they are OK on their rtn.
 

Boz

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Our Dutch neighbours rafted along side us.,stated this evening that if they have to bunker red in England, as long as they keep the fuel receipt they are OK on their rtn.
Tillergirl's experience provides useful insight into the Belgium mindset. I hope now that this is a Sticky that it will be used to record experiences good and bad. The RYA's Red Diesel page was updated in the middle of June and although it refers to the issue generically, it is clear that it is principally Belgium that is the problem area. Consequently, we won't be going there unless forced by the weather. To be fair it was never on our planned itinerary for this year.

I'm hoping that Sailorman's experience in Holland and the Netherlands is typical and having enjoyed the company and acquaintance of many Dutch people. I suspect it is...... but.......
 
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Boz

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I have some experience of dealing with EU colleagues in a law enforcement context. There is a different mindset which applies. In the UK we have a tradition of discretion; in mainland Europe functionary law enforcement officials have no such thing as they work strictly by the codes. They don't care whether duty is paid or not; the code says that leisure craft may not use marked diesel and that's it. The fact that duty has been full paid is immaterial to them (although last year receipts did seem to help). The code was made simple and absolute and the Commission (containing some of the most pompous and irritating people I have ever meet (and that's up against some strong competition)) insisted a few years back that the UK and Ireland (and I think there was someone else) had to comply. You could argue that the current situation has been caused by the UK Government's reasonableness from which we all benefit but I guess as far as Belgium is concerned if you want to visit there, if this latest news is right, you best have cleaned tanks, pipes and white diesel to avoid the risk. I suspect the UK is at risk from some further action by the Commission for allowing us to use marked diesel even though we pay full tax on it.
Where did I read that an Irish boat that topped up his Green diesel with British Red ended up with a murky brown coloured diesel... that might have confused a few officials .:)
 

Gwylan

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Just a heads up, a friend of our was in Ostende about 2 weeks ago. He was the only UK boat there.

Had the usual visit from customs - then they asked about what diesel was in his tanks, he then produced the receipt but it didn't make any difference. Fined for having red diesel.

500 Euro fine + tankage.

New finance minister apparently and is very anti red diesel usage. They even fined two Belgian yachts with red in their tanks.
Based on experience there are some steps to take.

Involve the RYA - a stiff letter from them to the Flemish authority is like being nuzzled by a dead sheep.

Write to your MEP and ask him-her what they think about this and will they make 'representations'

Write to your MP and ask him-her to take it up on your behalf.


Walk them all through the absurdity of the situation. Regarding the need for safety reasons for you to travel with sufficient diesel for the journey. The impossibility of buying white diesel in the UK and the fact that you had bought it 'legally' in the UK. Also that the system on your boat is tainted with red dye and white diesel will be contaminated anyway.
The need for a little pragmatism - I assume you did not have 10,000 litres on board or were not selling it to passing boats.

We got done, some time ago, in the Netherands for over €700. We did eventually get it back, following some action by our MEP.

Good luck.
 

Colvic Watson

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No offence intended to Guapa but Belgies and Dutchies are very different. There is a strong French influence on the Belgian mindset and a strong pragmatic influence on the Dutch attitude, hence the Dutch will accept receipts for duty paid which is 87p per litre here in the UK on 60/40.

This latest fine though means that Belgium is completely off the radar, we were due there next year but no way will we go anywhere near. It means a longer crossing straight to Flushing but you'd have to be bonkers to risk going to Belgium now. The biggest problem is missing the steaks at KYCN - best we've ever had.
 

Cantata

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.........................This latest fine though means that Belgium is completely off the radar, we were due there next year but no way will we go anywhere near. It means a longer crossing straight to Flushing but you'd have to be bonkers to risk going to Belgium now. The biggest problem is missing the steaks at KYCN - best we've ever had.
Me too, I'm afraid. I have actually only been in one Belgian port since this all started 5(?) years ago, and that was Blankenberge about 3 years ago.
Admittedly we never seem to hear the true circumstances of these reported fines, and I do wonder if the unfortunate boat-owners do something to bring it on themselves. Nevertheless 500euros is a heck of a lot of money and I will not take the risk.
 

sunquest

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Hmm the op makes a statement ie the fine, questions asked of him re which marina etc. - no response! Hmm
 

Sixpence

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Hmm the op makes a statement ie the fine, questions asked of him re which marina etc. - no response! Hmm
Last online @ 06-45 yesterday, so one minute after posting this. May be worth cutting a little slack, I'm not online here as often as I used to be, thinking the O/P may well be the same. Know I wouldn't be here given the chance :encouragement:
 

Koeketiene

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Admittedly we never seem to hear the true circumstances of these reported fines, and I do wonder if the unfortunate boat-owners do something to bring it on themselves.
+1
And I was wondering if it was just me.

- Not too long ago, forumite Westhinder reported meeting a fellow forumite in Dunkirk who said he had been fined for - amongst other things - having red diesel in his tanks. It would have been nice to hear from this forumite and learn what has transpired from the horses mouth. Not a word.
- Then this thread, another second hand report of boats being fined in Ostend. This report is of particular interest to me, as it also claims that Belgian registered yachts were fined for having red diesel and we have a visit to Ostend planned next week.
When I contacted the RNSYC HM he was unable to confirm the story. Said he was not there 24/7, but he was sure that if something like that had happened he would have heard about it. There are other marinas in Ostend and I haven't (yet) checked with them which I why I asked OP where his friends were berthed at the time. No reply as yet.

Whenever pressed for details we never seem to get any.
Failing details, I am starting to believe that these Belgian red diesel fines are the yachting equivalent of the abominable snowman - occasionally rumoured about but conclusive proof seems to be lacking.
 

Colvic Watson

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Maybe, but as the Belgian authorities clearly said that they will fine for carrying red diesel it surely wouldn't be a surprise to hear that they have fined for carrying red diesel.
 

Marmalade

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Think that Guapa's point is that the myth and the experience don't seem to tally.
We hear of people being fined but never first hand - ie "I was in Oostend last week and was fined for having red diesel in my tank". It has always been "I met a bloke" or "I know someone who..."
We have been to Oostend at least once a year and normally twice for - well since I can remember. Last year we were boarded and questioned by the immigration guys who filled out a schengen form for us; but I've never been stopped by a customs person asking about diesel. Robert always told us not to worry and experience bore that out.
I too am planned for the other side next week and normally would have no hesitation about going to Oostend. The OP here raises the question of whether the authorities have hardened their stance and are fining Brit yachts. But is that more rumour / pub gossip?
 

Boz

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I think that is why FC has stickied this thread, so that maybe we can unearth some positive evidence as anecdotal makes for a good thread but puts doubt in everyone's mind..... well most people's anyway :)
 

sailorman

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I think that is why FC has stickied this thread, so that maybe we can unearth some positive evidence as anecdotal makes for a good thread but puts doubt in everyone's mind..... well most people's anyway :)
Well 100% positive to date as no evidence of any fines has yet been posted. Its like IS propaganda, just frightens some for no reason
 

cookjwm

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The only positive evidence I can offer is that of at least a dozen UK boats in Ostende about 4 weeks ago and there was no issue. I did report that and another UK boat also reported that the Customs had been told to lay off. Seems a rapid about turn to me.
Recent reports from friends who have been to Holland indicate no issues there -and none when they worked their way down the Belgian coast about 3 weeks ago.
 
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