Comment as of Dec 4.
Sailors who have had recent positive
outcome with Australian Customs please note; Yes.. that has been
the most common lately and that is what TCP has reported. "Most
reported a thorough search but courteous treatment otherwise.
Some were selected at random for this." Please see the
most recent edition of TCP # 33
page 8 for a report of a positive encounter and a (prophetic)
warning that Customs should still not be trusted.
TCP takes the position that one case
of abuse must stand alone. It is not 'made up for' by 2 or 10
or 1000 other examples that aren't abusive. Every sailors rights
are important and as soon as 'their's' aren't neither are yours.
To respond to the rumour mill;
1. This craft was not treated badly
because they had " a bad attitude". They were selected
for this before they landed and had spoken a word to anyone in
customs. The "Friction" crew were reported by marina
staff to be cooperative and happy until they returned to see
what had happened to their boat.
2. "If you do the right thing and
give proper notice they treat you well." This craft had
come in with a rally. All proper notice and documentation were
provided. It appears to be random action. Bad luck.
3. They were searched hard because one
of the crew "was from Columbia". This is bigoted and
wrong. The crew in question had been given a residents visa,
a very hard thing to obtain that requires months of investigation
and proof of no criminal record or even suspicion of criminal
TCP condemns those that for commercial
or other reasons, invent and spread rumours that try to portray
the victims to be at fault. When these issues come to attention
it seems they are usually traced back to Bundaberg. (copy of
editorial from TCP # 31 is below)
This is an example of bad Customs policy,
enforced by a small group of individuals in Bundaberg that manage
to make a bad situation worse. TCP had reports of two other searches
made like this, that is the crew ordered to leave the craft whilst
the inspection was in progress with dogs and a team of officers,
but this is the only one that went this wrong.
Bundaberg has a problem with the Customs
team there. Bundaberg Customs has been at the front of conflict
with entering cruisers. No other port of entry has had such a
record. The very first complaint made to TCP was from Bundaberg.
The Manzari case was in Bundaberg.
The controversy over "ship in transit" duties was in
Bundaberg. Cruisers should
know this so they can make their own decision.
exerpt from TCP 31 editorial;
Watch out for the whisper
favourite whisper lie? I was sent a mail that quoted some rumourmonger
in the Whitsundays as saying he had a contact in Bundaberg that
claimed the Manzaris were anchored for several days before
contacting customs. This was from a forum that many will read
and some will even believe. The person who mailed it to me had
doubts and wanted confirmation. Wise man. Print media like TCP
bears a burden of fact in reportage. The forums, blogs, marina
layabouts and the MIB whisperers bear little or none at all.