Some European voyaging sailors are leaving or avoiding Croatia in response to European Union (EU) fees for vessel documentation. Some cruisers have faced fees in excess of $1,000 and have risked having stored boats held on the hard until the fees are paid in cash.
One owner reports returning to his boat after the winter and having to pay berthing fees as well as a shipping agent’s fee.
British Cruising Association member, Winslow Foot, who took his 36-foot ferro schooner called Iris to Croatia last June, returned to his boat in April and tried to pay his berthing fees as well as the shipping agent’s fee. The owner was told that his boat would not be launched until the fees were paid in cash and without a receipt.
Prior to July 2013 when Croatia joined the EU, boats entering Croatia had to check in with Croatian customs for temporary clearance and check out when they left. But after joining the EU, boats could be given a status called “free circulation,” after registering a document that shows the boat is of EU origin and that VAT has been paid on it. After obtaining this document, called a T2L and issued in the U.K., some sailors have also had to present marina contracts, bills of sale, passport copies, inventory lists, and even a power of attorney authorizing the Croatian agent to act on the owners behalf. Photos showing hull and engine serial numbers have also been requested.
If owners are unable to prove that the boat is of EU origin, a hefty import duty may be payable or the vessel seized.