Stringent Croatian Marina Legislation Abolished. Good News for Cruisers

ICOMIA’s “crucial role” in joining forces with its member, Marina Punat, to help remove barriers to trade in Croatia’s marina sector.

The Croatian Customs Administration – the organisation within the Ministry of Finance managing economic development policy including customs and excise duties – announced all Croatian marinas will be released from the stringent bonded-warehouse regime that was crippling the sector.

This means marinas will no longer be considered collateral in the country’s VAT rule for non-EU yachts. As of 1 August 2017, liability and responsibility of reporting departure information to Customs now remains the sole and exclusive obligation of the berth-holder.

European law allows foreign non-European vessels to remain in the Croatian/EU customs territory for up to 18 months from the date of entry into the EU without applying import requirements including VAT and customs duty on the value of the vessel. Those vessels are treated as temporary imported goods, and when the temporary import procedure expires, the responsible person for the yacht must follow one of the permissible and available procedures pursuant to the EU legislation.

In Croatia, marinas were deemed as bonded warehouses. This meant the Croatian Customs Authority required the marinas under its jurisdiction to act as guarantors for VAT and import duty on the value of the yacht for non-EU vessels in case the berth-holder failed to comply with customs regulations. Such unpopular practice diminished the attractiveness of Croatian waters as cruising ground, effectively applying VAT penalties to non-involved but local-parties which also created a disadvantage to Croatian business competitiveness.

Negotiations with representatives of the Customs Administration were led by the Croatian Association of Marinas, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the Croatian Employers’ Association and Marina Punat – who together sought the advice of the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA), of which Marina Punat is a sustaining member. ICOMIA provided help and support to the campaign by confirming the non-existence of similar practise in the EU, and by urging the authorities to release marinas as collateral.

“For Croatia’s marinas, the bonded warehouse scheme meant there was a constant risk of paying customs debt for a third party, plus lots of unnecessary administration” said B. Renata Marević, Marina Manager of Marina Punat. “Thanks to ICOMIA we have reached the cancellation of this status – and for Croatian marinas.

Editor Comment. With huge pressure on our coastal Yacht Clubs and even an anchorage in Saldanha Bay, maybe ICOMIA should be requested to mediate in this dispute as our country is an ICOMIA Member. The more parties involved in putting pressure in the right places, the better.