The government recently enacted two measures regarding the cruising permit fees that each charter boat must pay while carrying paying passengers in the British Virgin Islands.

The Cruising Permit (Amendment) Act 2017 amends the Cruising Permit Act, under which charter boats had to pay different cruising permit fees depending on the time of year and whether the boat was "based in the Territory". The Cruising Permit (Amendment) Act alters this by instead classifying boats as either home-based or foreign-based charter boats. Home-based charter boats must now pay a cruising permit fee of $6 per person per day, whereas foreign-based charter boats must now pay a fee of $16 per person per day. Previously, cruising fees ranged from $0.75 to $4 per person per day.

'Home-based' charter boats are defined as charter boats that, for a period of five months in any (ie, rolling) 12-month period, are:

  • operating in the British Virgin Islands;
  • generally maintained in the British Virgin Islands; and
  • managed by a company or any other legal entity incorporated, registered or licensed in the British Virgin Islands.

This wording is taken directly from the Cruising Permit (Amendment) Act.

'Foreign-based' charter boats are defined as essentially all other charter boats.

'Ferries', which are exempt from these fees, are defined as "any vessel plying from one side of a water-way to the other or between places on the same or different islands or territories for the purpose of the carriage of goods or passengers". This is the same definition provided by the British Virgin Islands Ports Authority Act 1990.

The other amended statute, the Statutory Rates, Fees and Charges (Amendment of Schedule) Order 2017, confirms the above cruising permit fees for internal government purposes.

The new fees took effect on August 1 2017.

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For further information on this topic please contact Sheila George or Johann Henry at Harneys by telephone (+1 284 494 2233) or email (sheila.george@harneys.com or johann.henry@harneys.com). The Harneys website can be accessed at www.harneys.com.