'Inappropriate, disproportionate, ineffective and inefficient'

The RYA has criticised the government for ignoring the ‘inherent flaws’ in its e-Borders programme, which will be not be changed before its introduction in 2014.

In a statement the RYA said that it thinks imposing e-Borders on recreational sailors is ‘an inappropriate, disproportionate, ineffective and inefficient mechanism for securing the sea border’.

Gus Lewis, the RYA’s head of legal and government affairs, said: ‘It’s disappointing that despite the inherent flaws in the proposed programme, which we have been pointing out to government regularly over the last three years, it apparently still intends to implement the proposed programme without any attempt to address these flaws.’
The government has not yet explained how e-Borders will be administered, but according to the RYA sailors will have to report voyages in and out of the UK to a dedicated website up to 24 hours before leaving.

But, to comply with EU laws on the free movement of people, the government has assured the EU Commission that sailors who do not do this will not be denied the right to travel.

The RYA states that a self-reporting system will not stop ‘those intent on avoiding detection’ and ‘the rationale for applying e-Borders across the geographic sea border is thus flawed’.

Mr Lewis said: ‘If the e-Borders programme is to be implemented in the recreational boating sector then in our view the most appropriate, proportionate and cost-effective solution would be for only those persons who are not UK or EU citizens and who are on voyages outside the common travel area to be subject to a requirement to provide their details to the UKBA.’

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