Ostende and red diesel - BEWARE

MikeBz

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Rafts of updates in that thread, the most significant being #95 from Vyv Cox which reads "Following questions from the CA's RATS team the Belgian authorities have admitted that they were mistaken and the fine has been repaid.".
 

PaulRainbow

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Just had this land in my inbox, originated from the CA, via SPYC


[h=2]Over last weekend, we heard a lot about the owner of a CA boat being fined for red diesel in the boat's fuel tank even thought 100% UK tax had been paid. Thanks to the work of CA RATS, the Belgium Government admitted that this was done in error and the whole fine has been refunded. We have been reassured that this is an isolated incident.
[/h]
 

Biggles Wader

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Re: Ambassador's reponse to CA

I wonder if any of the people who have been fined are trying to get their money back,or if the RYA are assisting anyone affected to do so.We are all vulnerable to arbitrary policy changes such as happened this summer unless there is some recourse available to those who get unlucky.I wont be visiting until the Belgians officially publish a policy, enforceable under the rule of law, which includes a concentration level above which fuel is illegal.That way they would have to prove an offense before blithely relieving us of £500 under threat of detention.
This is what I thought nearly two years ago and I havnt changed my mind. I havnt put red in my tank for over two years but it still shows a bit of staining in the water trap. Until there is a formal legal position with a minimum concentration for imposing a fine I will avoid Belgium. Shame really as it is a nice place to visit.
 

Daydream believer

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Re: Ambassador's reponse to CA

One can replace the glass bowl on a standard Delphi filter unit with a metal bowl. I have one. Do canal boats have to have this as part of fire regs ?
This means that the customs officer cannot just shine a torch on the bowl.
I wonder what would happen if one had spare white in a can (I always carry plenty of spare) & filled the tank a little below the brim, so it did not look too obvious, immediately on arrival at each point of arrival. Would the red dye affect the part of the fuel in the filler pipe, if not shook up? I know that one cannot dip the tank from the pipe on my boat, due to bends in the pipe. The pipe is quite long. Presumably they would only be dipping the white I had just put in.
 

RivalRedwing

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Re: Ambassador's reponse to CA

If you have a water drain on the base of your filter assembly would they be within rights to take, or ask you to take, a sample of fuel from it? suspect = yes
 

ex-Gladys

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Re: Ambassador's reponse to CA

I was next to a Centaur in Woodbridge a couple of years ago who had been stopped in Ostende, and fined for red diesel. The owner had NEVER used red diesel in the last couple of years, topping his tank with white from a normal filling station. The residue of red in the tank (not visible according to him) was still detectable. So... A metal filter housing won't help...
 

Daydream believer

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Re: Ambassador's reponse to CA

. So... A metal filter housing won't help...
It will stop them just shinning a torch on a glass bowl. That means taking a fuel sample. As pointed out, they can take it from a fuel drain- but only if one has one. The alternative is tank dipping & if the tank cannot be reached from the filler cap entry point what do they do then?
I was asking, if by filling the pipe with white fuel, would the red be detectable without stirring the mix
 

Old Harry

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Re: Ambassador's reponse to CA

As a matter of interest, do these inspectors carry testing kits, to obtain % present. Even road testing has a % allowance i believe
 

CLB

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Re: Ambassador's reponse to CA

As a matter of interest, do these inspectors carry testing kits, to obtain % present. Even road testing has a % allowance i believe
The one person I know personally who was fined said that they didn't even test his fuel. Looked at his bowl and said it looked a bit red. Confiscated passports until £500 fine was paid. This was in the last round of fines.
 

maby

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Re: Ambassador's reponse to CA

The one person I know personally who was fined said that they didn't even test his fuel. Looked at his bowl and said it looked a bit red. Confiscated passports until £500 fine was paid. This was in the last round of fines.
I'm not an expert on the Napoleonic Law that is common across most of the continent, but I would assume that there is provision for an appeal during which you could get an independent lab analysis of your fuel and present evidence that the concentration of marker was below the limit set in EU directives. On the other hand, the authorities can probably make your life very difficult if you refuse to pay the fine and one ends up giving in for a quiet life. In most juristictions, the police can imprison you or impound your property if you refuse to pay a fine - you pay up, then decide whether or not to appeal it.
 

westhinder

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If you have a water drain on the base of your filter assembly would they be within rights to take, or ask you to take, a sample of fuel from it? suspect = yes
They would definitely be within their rights.
If you have a glass filter bowl, that is their first stop. If what they see looks suspect to them, they will require a sample, and they can take it by draining from the tank or by dipping it.
A quick look at my filter bowl was all that was needed three weeks ago.
 

MartynG

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A quick look at my filter bowl was all that was needed three weeks ago.
I haven't been keeping up with the east coast forum nor the red diesel issue. Are all boats arriving Belgium currently inspected and tested ? Is the same true in the Netherlands?
 

FulmarJeddo

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I haven't been keeping up with the east coast forum nor the red diesel issue. Are all boats arriving Belgium currently inspected and tested ? Is the same true in the Netherlands?
I was in Oostende last week. In haste on mobile data I started a new thread instead of adding it on here. No idea if this is normal or a one off, but two of our group were boarded with the same attitude and actions. They were carrying a large backpack which I assume contained a testing kit.
David

We were in Oostende on Wednesday and had a visit from Belgium Customs. Having filled up purely on white Diesel for the last couple of years, I wasn't too worried. They very politely requested permission to come on board to check our documentation and a fuel check. We welcomed them aboard with a handshake and I produced my folder of documents handing them my passport (and crew's), SSR certificate and Bill of Sale, rummaging through my documents I asked if they wanted proof of VAT (my boat started its life in Guernsey and was later imported back into the UK), "No we are not interested in that."
Two officers sat in the cockpit whilst the third asked if he could go below asking if we had excessive drinks or illegal substances. We replied it had all been drunk. The documents were photographed and everything was very light hearted with laughter from all on board.
Nothing further was said about fuel, we were thanked for our cooperation and wished a safe onward journey with a further hand shake.
Another team carried out a similar check on one of the boats with us with the same attitudes and actions. I suspect if we hadn't complied with the correct documentation or been awkward, our tanks may have been dipped.
 

westhinder

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I haven't been keeping up with the east coast forum nor the red diesel issue. Are all boats arriving Belgium currently inspected and tested ? Is the same true in the Netherlands?
I am sorry I do not know. We are a Belgian boat and were boarded on a weekday after we had been doing some circles in the harbour to calibrate a new masthead windset and afterwards a couple af harbour maneuvres, and they told us our antics drew their attention. No-one else was moving at the time, so I suppose we were the obvious choice for them to occupy their morning at work.
Last time I was boarded by Dutch customs, three or four years ago, was also on a weekday, and they only wanted to check the paperwork.
 

maby

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I am sorry I do not know. We are a Belgian boat and were boarded on a weekday after we had been doing some circles in the harbour to calibrate a new masthead windset and afterwards a couple af harbour maneuvres, and they told us our antics drew their attention. No-one else was moving at the time, so I suppose we were the obvious choice for them to occupy their morning at work.
Last time I was boarded by Dutch customs, three or four years ago, was also on a weekday, and they only wanted to check the paperwork.
Is this a continental thing? I don't think I've ever heard of the UK authorities boarding any private vessel to check on paperwork! During the London Olympics, we were sailing on the Thames and a large RIB full of black suited heavies pulled alongside, but they only asked if the boat was ours and where we were headed - no question of boarding or looking at anything. Other than that, in quite a few years of sailing, we've had no contact with the UK authorities at all...
 

FulmarJeddo

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Is this a continental thing? I don't think I've ever heard of the UK authorities boarding any private vessel to check on paperwork! During the London Olympics, we were sailing on the Thames and a large RIB full of black suited heavies pulled alongside, but they only asked if the boat was ours and where we were headed - no question of boarding or looking at anything. Other than that, in quite a few years of sailing, we've had no contact with the UK authorities at all...
A friend was boarded 2 weeks ago by Borderforce heading for Bulogne. Not spoken to him, so don't know full details. We were met at Ramsgate on Saturday by Borderforce and asked where we had come from. When we told them Gravelines they asked for our passports. They seemed quite pleased as we were the first boats on Saturday not to have come from the Medway or East Coast. On Saturday there was a Cutter and a CPV in Ramsgate. It was the CPV crew that checked us. We then went up to the office to pay and another group of about 10 Borderforce people came along the wall. We were talking to them and they said they were a shorebased team.
I think they had a busy weekend with migrants. We heard 2 calls on the radio that appeared to be migrant related.
 

STOL71

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Was in Belgium in June 2019: in Nieuwpoort, had to come alongside their patrol cutter, they were interested in my passport and boat registration. Not interested in boarding my vessel or fuel. It took them about 15 minutes in all.
In Oostend, the harbour master at RNSYC told me they tried to check my boat but I wasn't on board at the time.
Boat is a sailing vessel.
 

Daydream believer

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We held a cruise in company to see the D day celebrations. The French stopped us from visiting the beaches from shore side & we could not get within 6 miles !! We had hired cars to travel 106 Km from Le Havre . We left at 03-00 BST to get to the landing sites but apparently, one president Macron was there, so we were prevented, as were thousands of others, from going. There were road blocks everywhere.

When a party of 3 boats left Le Havre on 07 June, for Eastbourne, traveling in convoy, 2 of them were boarded by French customs. The officials looked at documents & did not go below on either yacht. They left after and caused no major problem. All 3 boats were under power as zero wind.
 

DennisF

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Any updates on the red diesel situation? I’m planning a trip across the channel next year and trying to decide between Belgium and Netherlands......
 
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