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Displaying items by tag: Brexit

As of 1 January this year, pleasure craft travelling from the European Union (including Ireland) to Northern Ireland are subject to new customs reporting requirements.

Pleasure craft are defined as craft used for the sport or pleasure of the owner. Pleasure craft can also be used by the immediate family or friends of the owner on a voyage for which the owner does not receive money.

If you carry any goods for industrial or commercial purposes, your vessel becomes a commercial vessel and is no longer a pleasure craft.

Pleasure craft are currently required to submit reports for journeys between NI and countries outside the EU. This is known as ‘outward clearance’ and ‘inward reporting’ and it allows the UK Government to risk assess journeys and identify potential customs and immigration violations.

Due to the UK’s exit from the EU, inward reporting will now also be required for pleasure craft travelling from the EU to NI. A minor exception exists from pleasure craft travelling from Ireland to NI as passenger reports will not be required.

Reports can be submitted electronically as per the e-c1331 Excel form as detailed within Notice 8; at the bottom of the form select the option ‘North (Region)’ which ensures that in addition to the form going to the national yacht line team, it also goes to Border Force agents in NI.

The official notice from HM Revenue & Customs is attached below.

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Following reports earlier this month of the UK Government’s intention to waive the three-year condition for Returned Goods Relief, it’s now been confirmed that from 1 January 2022 new legislation will give certainty to UK-based recreational boat owners post-Brexit.

Boat owners returning their vessels to the UK can claim relief from import VAT under Returned Goods Relief (RGR) if they meet all the conditions for the relief. One of these conditions is that the goods or effects must normally be re-imported into the UK within three years of the original date of export.

The changes are in response to concerns set out by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) over the past two years, ensuring that legislation and UK Government guidance is aligned with previous practical application of RGR rules by making it clear that:

  • the normal three-year time limit will be waived for personal effects which are being returned to the UK for the personal use of a UK resident person, without needing to prove that the effects could not be returned within the normal time limit due to exceptional circumstances; and
  • that a boat is treated as ‘personal effects’ for the purposes of this waiver.

Katherine Green and Sophie Dean, HMRC Directors General, Borders and Trade, commented: “We are pleased to be able to provide assurance to the sector that there will be no requirement to pay a second amount of UK VAT if vessels have been outside the UK for more than three years.”

Mel Hide, RYA’s director of external affairs, said the confirmation “is outstanding news for UK recreational boater owners and we welcome it as a pragmatic outcome in response to the considerable amount of time and effort that the RYA has put in to secure this result”.

Guidance on Returned Goods Relief will be updated from January once the legislation has been introduced, the RYA adds.

Published in Cruising

Some UK boat owners towing vessels on trailers may face further post-Brexit red tape in the New Year with a new requirement to obtain international operational licences to cross EU borders.

As the Guardian reports, the latest guidance from the UK Government is that from May 2022, anyone driving a van, a light commercial vehicle or any car towing a trailer on a commercial basis will be required to have a “goods vehicle operator licence” to enter or exit the EU (and Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland).

And the paperwork doesn’t come cheap, with drivers expected to pay £257 (€303) for the application fee and a further £401 (€472) for the licence — plus another £401 “continuation fee” every five years.

What’s more, drivers towing boats for commercial purposes may have to complete a qualification course in order to designate themselves as “transport manager” as stipulated by the licence.

The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

This story was updated on 19 December to clarify that the new licence applies only to commercial transport.

Published in News Update
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In a reprieve for many UK-based private boat owners, the British Government intends to waive the three-year condition on Returned Goods Relief, as Yachting Monthly reports.

Pending changes to legislation will mean that vessels that have been based in the UK at some point in their current ownership will not be recharged VAT on return to British waters from the European Union.

While welcoming the news, the Royal Yachting Association added: “We are fully aware that there are those who own boats legitimately bought and kept in the EU when the UK was a member state which have never been in the UK.

“We continue to press the government to recognise that export for these boats took place at the end of the Transition Period … As such, the government should accept that the export/import condition for Returned Goods Relief is deemed to have been met.”

Yachting Monthly has more on the story HERE.

Published in Cruising

A report in The Guardian says Denmark has accused the UK of reneging on the post-Brexit fisheries deal by pushing for a ban on bottom trawling at the Dogger Bank.

Danish boats have fished the area for hundreds of years and today the country’s industry lands €3.6m worth of sand eel from Dogger Bank every year.

The North Sea conservation zone hosts a number of species such as halibut, sharks and skate which are particularly vulnerable to disturbances of the sea bed.

Moves to ban the practice of bottom trawling have been welcomed by environmental groups.

But Denmark’s fisheries minister Rasmus Prehn says his country’s fishers “are already in a very difficult situation due to Brexit so this would be even more difficult for them and we can’t really accept that”.

The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

As reported earlier this year on Afloat.ie, the ban on the use of red diesel to propel private pleasure craft in Northern Ireland has come into effect.

As of 1 October 2021, following an extension from this past summer, private pleasure craft in Northern Ireland must use diesel, biodiesel or bioblend on which duty has been paid at the full (unrebated) rate in the motor used for propulsion.

Vessels with one fuel tank (for both propulsion and non-propulsion) cannot use red diesel unless it was put into the fuel tank either in:

  • Northern Ireland before 1 October 2021; or
  • a jurisdiction where using red diesel for propulsion of private pleasure craft is legal post-Brexit, such as Great Britain, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Boaters who travel to Northern Ireland having refuelled with red diesel elsewhere are advised to keep documents (such as receipts, logbooks and declarations) to show HMRC where and when the vessel was refuelled.

Private pleasure craft in Northern Ireland (including houseboats) with separate tanks for propulsion and non-propulsion uses may continue to use red diesel in the non-propulsion fuel tank — but the supplier cannot allow any discount on the ‘white’ diesel because it is all being used for propulsion.

In addition, any residential craft with a single tank supplying an engine which does not propel the vessel may continue to use rebated (red) diesel.

Fuel suppliers in Northern Ireland who sell white diesel for private pleasure craft with a single fuel tank can register for a new HMRC relief which allows to deduct at point of sale an amount equal to the duty rebate on 40% of the total volume of white diesel supplied.

More can be found in Excise Notice 554 (Fuel used in private pleasure craft and for private pleasure flying) on the Gov.uk website HERE.

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According to BBC News, the EU is to set out proposals later to address the row about trade in Northern Ireland.

The UK wants to change the deal struck as part of the Brexit process to allow goods to circulate more freely between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

It says the current rules impose too many barriers to the sale of chilled meats and other products.

The EU's proposals, which it calls far-reaching, are expected to involve reduced checks on goods and medicines.

At the start of the year, a new post-Brexit arrangement - known as the Northern Ireland Protocol - was introduced to help prevent checks along the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

It involves keeping Northern Ireland in the EU's single market for goods - but this, in turn, creates a new trade border with Great Britain. Unionists say this undermines their place in the UK.

Both sides seems to agree - though to differing degrees - that the protocol is posing some difficulties for people and businesses in Northern Ireland.

Much more here on this development. 

Published in Ferry

A documentary on the lives of people in coastal communities connected by the Carlingford Lough ferry will have its premiere in a special outdoor drive-in screening this Thursday (19 August).

Four Seasons in a Day is one of six documentaries in the Borderline series focused on border regions around Europe and the people who live there.

Already an award winner, Annabel Verbeke’s film — which was broadcast on RTÉ One last Tuesday — explores the complexities of Brexit through the eyes of locals and visitors alike via the ferry that links Greenore in Co Louth with Greencastle in Co Down.

The film will have its premiere screening on the island of Ireland in a special event at the Carlingford Lough Ferry terminal in Greencastle this Thursday evening at 8pm.

Tickets priced at €27.55 per car are available from the Eventbrite page HERE. The film can also be streamed by viewers in Ireland on the RTÉ Player.

Published in Ferry

A dramatic drop in freight volumes between Ireland and Britain caused by Brexit has also led to a diversion of trade from Irish ports to Northern Ireland and to direct EU routes, new data confirms.

While there has been no overall loss of trade to Irish ports, there has been a “reconfiguration” as a result of Brexit, according to the latest quarterly shipping traffic report (as Afloat reported) from the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO).

It shows that roll-on/roll-off trade between Ireland and Britain – or RoRo, where loaded trucks drive cargo on and off ships – collapsed by around a third in the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2019.

Traffic between Ireland and Britain now makes up just two-thirds of all Irish freight volumes, compared to 84pc two years ago, according to the IMDO’s Unitised Traffic Report for the second quarter of 2021.

Northern Ireland's RoRo traffic was the busiest it has ever been between April and July this year.

The figures tally with what hauliers and ferry operators have been saying for months.

More from Independent.ie here.

Published in Irish Ports

In the lead up to the end of the Brexit transition period, stockpiling helped Belfast Harbour largely weather the storm of Covid-19, according to the port’s latest annual results.

As The Irish News reports, turnover fell by 4.7 per cent to £62.8 million for the year ending December 31 2020, with the £29.7m operating profit in 2020 just 2.6 per cent down on 2019.

The trust port said the decline in revenue was largely the result of the impact on the tourism and leisure trade, notably from the loss of 128 cruise ships due to dock in the city during 2020 and the restrictions on its AC by Marriott Hotel, which saw a £3.6m fall in turnover last year.

But 23.5 million tonnes of cargo still passed through the harbour in 2020, just three per cent down on 2019.

And despite the introduction of the protocol in January this year, a strategic report produced by the Harbour Commissioners said initial trading in early 2021 has been broadly in line with early year trading patterns for previous years.

But, they said that has largely been the result of grace periods for certain goods.

More here with comments from the port's chief exective

Published in Belfast Lough
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