UPDATE: 28/07/2017 - CA wins change of heart from Belgian government
The Belgian Ambassador to the UK has told the CA that Belgium will not fine boats found to be carrying red diesel, from now until the issue has been discussed by the EU Committee on Excise Duty on September 18.
The CA had received reports that yachts visiting Belgium were:
- tested for red diesel in tanks and fined €500 if any traces were found, even if receipts were provided
- inspected for paperwork, including Schengen crew lists.
As a result, RATS (the Regulations and Technical Services Group) wrote to the Belgian Ambassador in London and Belgian Customs in Brussels to ask for an explanation for their change of conduct. Our contact in Nieuwpoort could give RATS no explanation of the sudden Customs action but now confirm that RATS advice, agreed with them three years ago, will now be honoured.
The CA now recommends that any members planning to visit Belgian ports carry receipts for all diesel purchased in the past two years, which should have tax paid on 100% of the engine fuel. They should also carry a Schengen crew list, and if possible a print-out of the full text of the email from the Belgian Ambassador in the attachment below. Our advice, in the attachment below, will be revised if necessary after September 18.
UPDATE: 06/07/2017 - RATS new advice to members - not to call into Belgian ports
RATS has heard of other yachts being fined as well as our CA Members informing us about their friend's plight. These friends have now told RATS in detail of their traumatic experience with the Belgian officials.
We have spoken again with our Belgian marina contact who can offer no reason for, nor why no warning has been given about the non-observance of the agreed 'understanding' of their position over UK yachts with red engine diesel.
The sudden change this year of their conduct and apparent random heavy fining for vessels having even residual traces of red diesel engine fuel, together with no guarantee of the Belgian officials adhering to the original RATS advice note, is unhelpful.
All of this has made RATS review the situation again. They have concluded that they must now raise their level of advice to Members not to call into Belgian ports.
In the meantime RATS will continue to monitor the position and post any further advice.
If Members have comments on, information or details about the Belgian actions, RATS will be pleased to hear from them and thanks them in advance.
Please see the updated document attached below for further information and advice from RATS on the use of red diesel when in EU waters.
Original posting 29/06/2017
RATS has just heard that a yacht, which had re-fuelled with white diesel, was in Nieuwpoort on passage back to the UK. It has been fined 500 Euros by Belgian officials for having traces of red diesel in the engine tank.
As the understanding for these last two years with Belgium, as outlined in the 'RATS advice, on red UK diesel' can no longer be relied upon, RATS is now suggesting to Members and other sailors that they may consider not sailing to Belgium.
If any advice is received that the original understanding is upheld of how the Belgian officials treat visiting UK vessels, RATS will publish an update to this note.
See the attached document for further information and advice from RATS.