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Customs ready for America’s Cup defence

Customs ready for America’s Cup defence

The New Zealand Customs Service is today briefing Customs Minister Rick Barker on preparedness for the Americas Cup, as New Zealand prepares for the start of the Louis Vuitton Challenge next month.

Customs' support for the America's Cup includes facilitating the importing requirements of the syndicates competing and managing the arrival of the spectator yachts.

Risk management is a key component of facilitating a huge international event like the America’s Cup, and Customs has various strategies in place to help minimise the risks posed by an influx in vessels, including the deployment of its patrol boat Hawk.

“We usually have about 400 yacht arrivals in the October/December season,” says John Secker, Customs National Manager Air and Marine.

“For the America’s Cup in 1999 we had over 600 arrivals in that period. All indications are that the arrivals for this season will to be larger – with more of the 20 metre-plus vessels.”

Complementing efforts to make processing as easy as possible for spectators, Customs has also done a lot of work to facilitate the racing syndicates – yachts, crew and the huge amount of equipment.

The Temporary Import Agreement system, introduced at the last America’s Cup, lets recognised challenger syndicates import their boats and associated equipment and materials without the upfront payment of Customs duties by entering into an approved Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) programme with the Customs Service. The understanding is that yachts and their associated equipment will be re-exported when they are eliminated from the event. The system means syndicates have significant extra cash reserves at their disposal to spend on their challenge

Customs always works closely with MAF Quarantine Service in managing arriving vessels, and the America’s Cup is no different.

MAF Quarantine Service (MAFQS) has a team of Inspectors who manage biosecurity risk imports at the America’s Cup Village. They inspect everything that may contain quarantine risk items on arrival, from container-loads of gear and personal effects brought by syndicate teams, to superyachts and spectator craft.

“Our goal is to make sure people know what to expect when they get here, and to educate them to bring as few quarantine risk goods as possible”, says MAFQS Acting General Manager, Fergus Small.

Customs Minister Rick Barker will also be given a brief tour of the America’s Cup village on board the Customs patrol vessel Hawk today.

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