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German Yachtie Fined on Customs Charges

German Yachtie Fined on Customs Charges

A German yachtie appeared in Invercargill District Court today for failing to meet Customs requirements on departure from New Zealand.

Klaus Uecker took his yacht into the Fiordland area after telling Customs he was departing for Australia. The yacht, the Boomerang II was seen over several days moored in Breaksea Sound.

The law requires all sea craft, no matter what size, to obtain a certificate of clearance from the New Zealand Customs Service on departing from New Zealand for a point outside New Zealand. There is a legal obligation to inform Customs if circumstances change.

On 11 March Customs officers located the yacht leaving Breaksea Sound, and ordered it to return to Bluff.

The Court heard that Karl Uecker had told the crew of another vessel that his radio was not working, but had refused their offer of the use of a radio to contact Customs authorities. On the Boomerang II's return to Bluff its radio equipment was found to be fully functional.

Klaus Uecker was charged under section 193 (1)(e) of the Customs and Excise Act 1996, in that after obtaining a Certificate of Clearance he did not immediately depart New Zealand. He was convicted, fined $1000, and ordered to pay costs of $250 when he appeared in the Invercargill District Court this morning.

Customs Risk Response Manager Paul Smith says it is important that all visiting yachts understand that New Zealand is not prepared to put its natural treasures at risk.

"This yacht posed a particular risk to protected wildlife in a World Heritage Area."

Paul Smith thanked the responsible boaties and other Southland residents who had assisted Customs in tracking this yacht.

"With about 11 thousand kilometres of coastline, Customs needs the eyes and ears of honest kiwis to help protect New Zealand's borders."

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