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Waterways Ireland has issued a notice for masters and owners of vessels that the Department of Finance intends changing the law regarding the use of marked gas oil, or MGO, in private pleasure craft from 1 January 2020.

The change follows the recent EU ruling against Ireland regarding the use of MGO — colloquially 'green diesel' — on pleasure craft.

The Department of Finance will propose an amendment to the Finance Act 2019, and once the amendment is enacted, the use of MGO as a propellant by private pleasure craft will be illegal. The practical repercussions of this are that private pleasure craft will need to use standard auto diesel as a propellant.

EU Directive 2003/96 defines “private pleasure craft” as “any craft used by its owner or the natural or legal person who enjoys its use either through hire or through any other means, for other than commercial purposes and in particular other than for the carriage of passengers or goods or for the supply of services for consideration or for the purposes of public authorities.”

In simple terms, the change to the law means that private and hired pleasure craft operating in the Republic of Ireland must use auto diesel from 1 January 2020. Commercial and public authority craft are exempt from the requirement.

Waterways Ireland says further information can be obtained from the Office of the Revenue Commissioners.

Published in Inland Waterways

#GreenDiesel - Recreational boaters in Ireland face an end to fuelling with green diesel, following a ruling by the European Court of Justice.

According to the Irish Examiner, Ireland has been infringing EU law by allowing the sale of cheaper marked fuel meant for fishing vessels to power yachts and other leisure craft.

Now the EU has determined that the current situation is “fundamentally incompatible” with its directives on energy taxation.

Just 28 out of some 27,000 recreational boat owners made returns on their use of marked fuel in 2012 — but Irish authorities add that the illegal use of fuel in leisure craft is only 1.3% of total oil consumption.

And as our own Winkie Nixon wrote in 2014, an often ignored factor is the availability of quality fuel for recreational boaters around the Irish coast.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#dieselfuel – The current controversy rumbling on in various outlets – most notably in the Irish Times letters pages – about how the Irish government has been dealing with EU Directives for differentiating between duty on diesel fuel for fishing boats, as opposed to a higher rate for pleasure craft, has obscured the fundamental problem of the ready availability or otherwise of good quality diesel fuel at remote parts of the coast writes W M Nixon.

Smart-alec comments about a favourable price structure for "wealthy yacht owners" dating back to the time when a certain Taoiseach was a noted boat enthusiast are a complete red herring as regards green diesel. The reality is that for auxiliary sailing cruisers, in the context of all the expenses of voyaging to remote areas such as the west of Ireland or Scotland's Hebrides, the relative price of diesel fuel comes way down the scale of considerations. The primary considerations are its ready availability (or not), and its quality.

Just recently, the quayside diesel pump at Burtonport in Donegal has been closed down, citing lack of business. This means that an entire swathe of our northwest coastline has no convenient means of supplying diesel to boats. Another problem is that when the quayside pump is used only occasionally, the fuel can stagnate. That said, the average boat owner, on seeing a quayside pump at a time when his own tank is running low, will dearly wish for the convenience of being able to take fuel on board cleanly and neatly without any further hassle, hoping that the fuel supplied won't result in a blockage despite the onboard filters.

Personal experience of the frustration which a "fishing boats only" diesel supply rule can cause came to me some years ago in a remote port in northwest Spain, where the fisherman's co-op had a quayside pump which was legally entitled to supply only its own members. With the possibility of mid-Biscay calms in prospect for our passage home to Ireland, we needed all the spare diesel we could get. Becoming a member of the Cedeira Fisherman's Co-op would have been a lengthy process taking several days even had it been allowed, but the obliging coo-op manager – a very decent man – drove me in his car with our spare jerry-cans to a garage on the far outskirts of the village, where they were filled with road diesel.

It was an absurd process, relying on the kindness of strangers. Needless to say, as we'd taken this trouble to get spare diesel, the breeze held for the whole way home. And we'd good winds too for a subsequent round Ireland cruise that same year, so the Cedeira diesel was well travelled when it was finally used.

Nevertheless if we wish to develop Ireland as a cruising destination for ourselves as much as overseas visitors, some new thinking is needed on the whole area of the supply of marine diesel. We all know how to get it as conveniently as possible in our own home ports. But in remote areas, it may well be that the drawbacks of maintaining an irregularly-used quayside pump outweigh any advantage, and there's surely merit to the suggestion by Cliff Hilliard, Hon. Sec. of the Irish Cruising Club, that filling stations at strategic locations around the coast be encouraged to invest in small tank trailers to deliver the white diesel which is now mandatory to the quayside.

Those who take on board diesel in industrial quantities, such as large motor yachts, may have other thoughts on the matter - all your views are welcome here.

Published in News Update

#GreenDiesel - Ireland is set to be hauled before the courts by the European Union over failure to legislate against the use of 'green' diesel by private yachts.

According to Yacht & Boating World, the European Commission is referring Ireland to the Court of Justice of the European Union for not applying the rules on fiscal marking of fuel.

Two years ago Brussels began a crackdown on the use of marked or dyed diesel, which is taxed at a reduced rate for agricultural use including commercial fishing, and threatened to levy fines against British leisure boats using such fuel beyond UK waters.

In July the UK was referred to the same court over its own non-enforcement of the EU rules, despite arguments from the British marine industry that unmarked - or 'white' - diesel is not widely available in UK ports.

As in Britain, Irish law requires private boat owners to pay the difference between the standard rate of tax on diesel and the reduced marked fuel rate.

However, in a statement, the European Commission claims that "the low number of tax returns indicate that the minimum level of taxation is not applied."

Yacht & Boating World has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#greendiesel – The Irish Marine Federation (IMF) has made representations to the Revenue Commissioners in relation to a proposed ban on the use of so called 'Green Diesel', (or Red Diesel in Northern Ireland) for leisure boats pointing out difficulties changes would impose on the boating industry in general.

Ireland, like the UK, has had a differential pricing system for auto fuels, with higher taxes and hence retail prices for fuels used in road vehicles.

The best-known example is the price differential on green diesel, about 90c per litre cheaper than road diesel and available to boaters, farmers and other users of diesel-powered vehicles.

Green diesel is almost identical to ordinary auto-diesel apart from the dye which is added.

The IMF has also made a separate budget submission through the Irish Tourist Industry Confederation (ITIC) asking that if the change to white diesel is enforced by the EU that the VAT rate of 13.5% be imposed on this fuel as opposed to the 23% attached to white diesel. This would have a neutral effect on Revenue and would mean a smaller increase in the cost of fuel for boat owners say the Federation.

Published in Marine Federation
The Revenue Commissioners have published updated guidelines for the excise duty payable on green diesel used by private boatowners in Ireland.
The update accounts for the changes earlier this year to Mineral Oil Tax rate due to the imposition of the  carbon charge, as well as the recent Budget increase.
The rate from 1 January to 30 April 2010 stands at €0.40182 per litre, from 1 May to 7 December 2010 at €0.36052 per litre - reflecting the new separate carbon tax - and from 8 to 31 December 2010 at €0.37704 per litre.
The new guide and tax return form can be downloaded as a PDF file HERE.

The Revenue Commissioners have published updated guidelines for the excise duty payable on green diesel used by private boatowners in Ireland.

The update accounts for the changes earlier this year to Mineral Oil Tax rate due to the imposition of the carbon charge, as well as the recent Budget increase. 

The rate from 1 January to 30 April 2010 stands at €0.40182 per litre, from 1 May to 7 December 2010 at €0.36052 per litre - reflecting the new separate carbon tax - and from 8 to 31 December 2010 at €0.37704 per litre.

The new guide and tax return form can be downloaded as a PDF file HERE.

Published in News Update

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