The Cruising Association has reviewed its advice on carrying spare diesel if sailing into the EU, and has concluded it should be avoided

Following a review of advice about sailors carrying spare diesel in cans when entering the EU, the Cruising Association’s regulatory advisory team (RATS) says: “this should be avoided if at all possible.”

The Istanbul Convention allows temporary importation of fuel held in a vessel’s main tanks between different customs jurisdictions without any customs liability.

This is not an EU rule and applies to all of the signatories to the convention, which includes the UK and EU.

The SOLAS V safety requirements state that a skipper must ensure the safety of their vessel, including that there is enough fuel on board for the voyage.

A boat being filled up with red diesel from a pump

Red diesel is available tax paid in the UK

The CA’s Trevor Page, said: “While the convention does mention lubrication oil for normal servicing, it does not mention spare fuel in cans. It can be argued that these are outside the protection of the Istanbul Convention and potentially liable to import duty and/or customs action for the evasion of duty.”

He added: “The SOLAS V requirements may not give shelter from possible customs actions. Our advice now is that it’s best to avoid carrying spare diesel in cans when entering the EU or Northern Ireland.”

Sailors and boaters who have no option but to carry spare diesel are being advised to have a pre-prepared written passage plan, and receipts to show that full VAT and duty were paid on the diesel in the cans.

The UK is the only place where dyed/red diesel is available tax paid.

Any fuel put into cans for onward passage after entering the EU must be white, and receipts kept to show duty was paid.

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