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MP slams ‘perverse’ scheme by Belgian authorities to fine pleasure boats carrying red diesel

PUBLISHED: 11:16 28 July 2017

Ramsgate Royal Harbour and marina

Ramsgate Royal Harbour and marina

Archant

Boats travelling from the Port of Ramsgate are being warned after fines of up to €750 were levied

A scheme by Belgian authorities to fine pleasure boats travelling from the Port of Ramsgate up to €750 for carrying a certain type of fuel has been slammed by an MP as “perverse”.

Craig Mackinlay has contacted the Belgian Ambassador to the UK, Rudolf Hugelen, after fines were levied against a number of UK pleasure boat owners when visiting or accessing Belgian waters where their tanks have been found to be carrying what is known as red diesel.

Bulk diesel at British marinas is routinely only available as ‘red’ but it is unlawful in Belgium to use the fuel for propelling a private pleasure craft.

The South Thanet MP has been told some fines have been imposed even against pleasure boats passaging within six miles of the Belgian coast that have no intention of making landfall, but are merely passaging to the Netherlands.

Mr Mackinlay said: “Given that bulk diesel at UK marinas is only available as ‘red’, is fully taxed and in accordance with UK law, this really is a perverse situation.

“It obviously affects not just our local yachtsmen, but all yachtsmen - be they British, Dutch or German - who fill their tanks in British marinas before departing for ports in Belgium or Holland.

“The fines are also working to the detriment of Belgian marinas and harbours as UK boat owners are now opting not to call into Belgian ports.

“I have, therefore, made representations to His Excellency Rudolf Hugelen, the Belgian Ambassador, requesting his assistance in resolving this problem before visits from the UK by pleasure boats to Ostend and Nieuwpoort cease permanently and irreversibly.

“In the meantime, I am keeping in close touch with the Royal Temple Yacht Club in Ramsgate and will keep them fully updated as I progress this issue.”

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