Please select your home edition
Edition
BIA 2017 Brisbane 728x90 Sailing

How to ruin a yachting destination. Mexico keeps yachts impounded

by Sail-World Cruising round-up on 11 Jan 2014
It looks peaceful enough, but some of these yachts, owned by cruising retirees from the USA and Canada, have been impounded by authorities for more than a month, and can’t get information on how to get ’un-impounded’ SW
How to ruin a yachting destination - and it's still going on! A month ago, we published a story about how Mexican government tax agents had made unannounced visits to a number of marinas and, unbelievably to the foreign cruisers, mostly American and Canadian retirees, IMPOUNDED their yachts, because 'their papers were not in order'. It was apparently 'some kind of mistake' but a full month later, the boats are still impounded.

The boat owners involved, whose holiday plans have been rudely disrupted, cannot leave Mexico, and, worse, are left without any idea of how to remedy the situation.

According to one of the boat owners, Richard Spindler, editor of sailing magazine Latitude 38, 'Officials from various Mexican agencies, such as Tourism, were hoping that AGACE, a subdivision of Hacienda (the Mexican IRS) which mistakenly created the fiasco, would be able to resolve the situation by Christmas or at least the beginning of the New Year. They didn’t succeed.'

After inspecting more than 1,600 vessels in late November, the Mexican government's Treasury Department announced it had initiated seizure orders against 338 boats it accused of lacking a $70 permit. The office says it has four months to decide whether to release the boards or sell them at auction.

Many of the boat owners were not even present when the authorities came by. Undaunted, the officials impounded their boats anyway. Others say minor numerical errors in paperwork were used as grounds for seizure.

Apparently, it is all part of a new effort by President Enrique Pena Nieto's administration to increase government revenues in a country with one of the worst tax-collection rates among the world's large economies. The push has drawn howls of protest from Mexicans upset about new sales taxes and levies on home sales. But few of the new measures were as unexpected or toughly enforced as what foreign pleasure boat owners call a heavy-handed crackdown over a minor permit, and they say it threatens a tourism sector Mexico has long sought to promote.

'They brought all these marines, with machine guns and stuff, and they kind of descended on the marina and everybody's going, 'Wow, there's a big narco thing going down here,' said Spindler, whose catamaran Profligate was impounded near Puerto Vallarta. 'These are just retired people, 50-, 60-year-old retired people, mellow people. It was way over the top.'

The document in question, known as a Temporary Import Permit, can be obtained from a Mexican government website and proves holders own their boats and promise not to leave them in Mexico or sell them here.

One boater said marina operators warned that anyone who tried to leave would be hunted down. The owner, who expressed fear that speaking out by name could bring reprisals, said officials had given no written notice of seizure on their boat, and they had learned of it second hand from marina workers.

'This is killing nautical tourism in a worse way than drug trafficking, because it's the government itself that is taking the yachts,' said Enrique Fernandez, a member of Mexico's Association of Marinas.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, Mark C. Johnson, said in an email that U.S. officials are holding discussions on the issue with the Mexican government. Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development said it knows of three Canadians whose boats were seized.

Spindler, who has been sailing to Mexico for 36 years and publishes the sailing magazine Latitude 38, estimated that about 45 of the 53 boats at the marina where his boat was seized are owned by Americans or Canadians.

'Mexico wants and greatly supports nautical tourism,' he said, but warned that the heavy-handed approach could put the sailing sector at risk.

'The bottom line is that a lot of boat owners, boat businesses, boat workers, and a wonderful destination country are suffering for the blundering of one new sub-agency of the Mexican IRS.'
Protector - 660 x 82BandG AUS Zeus3 660x82Jeanneau Sunfast 660x82

Related Articles

Twenty-eighth blog from Jon Sanders - He's made it to Noumea
Noumea' New Caledonia a long Island kinda lies south-east to north west. 30 N Miles wide and 220 miles long 'Noumea' New Caledonia a long Island - kinda lies south-east to north west. 30 N Miles wide and 220 miles long, sort of. Plenty of reef. The fringing reef well out with several well posted passages into the Lagoon. Once inside the lagoon one cannot steer a course direct to Noumea, or one would come to a grinding halt. 'Crunch' (Coral reef and Islets). Never the less a small boat paradise....
Posted on 17 Aug
New rules to better protect and enable access to the Whitsundays
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Chairman Russell Reichelt said it was vital to protect the area’s values The updates to the Whitsunday Plan of Management — an area-specific plan that manages use in this highly visited region in addition to Reef-wide zoning — follows extensive consultation.
Posted on 10 Aug
Keep the water out with Zhik’s new Superthermal Hydrobase
The lower arm and leg of the new Superthermal Hydrobase is made from a water-repellent, stretch woven fabric We’ve all done it - and fished a rope out of the water, pushed the rudder down or stepped down the slipway one foot too far and gained that unwanted wet sleeve or leg.
Posted on 9 Aug
Satori is for sale
This 50ft McConaghy built performance cruiser is effectively a mini Wally. This 50ft McConaghy built performance cruiser is effectively a mini Wally. In-boom furling, self-tacking and hydraulic driven everything through push button controls that really work. You just need to trim your nails before sailing! It really is a boat that you can sail on your own, but nice to have company to show it off!
Posted on 9 Aug
Brisbane Boat Show – 18 days to go
The Brisbane Boat Show opens in less than three weeks, capturing all the Queensland boating lifestyle has to offer. There will be a huge clearance of fishing tackle and show only deals. If you love boats, fishing and water sports you don’t want to miss the Brisbane Boat Show.
Posted on 7 Aug
Knots are great, but beware of limitations
Paul Dyer, technical manager at Marlow Ropes, tests the effects of knots and splices on rope strength. Paul Dyer, technical manager at Marlow Ropes, tests the effects of knots and splices on rope strength. There's a knot for every application and for many applications there is no better solution than a knot. Nonetheless it is important to be aware of the limitations of knots.
Posted on 3 Aug
Twenty-seventh blog from Jon Sanders - More South Pacific trade winds
In my last blog I mentioned running before the trade winds. All the way from South America to Australia. In my last blog I mentioned running before the trade winds. All the way from South America to Australia. i.e. Sailing between the equator and the Tropic of Capricorn. I cleared Tahiti and headed for New Caledonia. (A sizeable French elongated Island) all in the trade wind belt. And after Noumea 'New Caledonia' to Bundaberg, where rum is made in Australia.
Posted on 31 Jul
Twenty-sixth blog from Jon Sanders - The South Pacific trade winds
First one has to get into them from Panama. Then you have them. First one has to get into them from Panama. Then you have them. Some years your sails might flop along in a light wind. But it is there.
Posted on 27 Jul
She's back! Lisa Blair returns home
Lisa Blair has finished her epic circumnavigation of Antartica. Lisa Blair has finished her epic circumnavigation of Antartica. It has been a massive undertaking in every sense, but the steely determination she is known for has shone through repeatedly, which is what has allowed her to chalk up this one. Despite being in front of record pace before her dismasting on Climate Action Now, the Hick 50 she used for the journey...
Posted on 26 Jul
Ocean Alliance and yachting industry clean up Sydney’s beaches
Take 3, the environment advocacy group collected over 20,000 pieces of plastic and 200 recyclable bottles and cans. Backed by the environment advocacy and education group, Take 3, the group collected over 20,000 pieces of plastic and 200 recyclable bottles and cans.
Posted on 24 Jul