Customs

During 1978 a wreck on Portlock Reef, about eighty miles east of the Louisiade Archipelago, was found to contain something like forty million dollars worth of drugs. It was believed that the haul was placed there by a Japanese fishing boat. An Australian yacht involved in its collection was apprehended off the New South Wales coast, the owner being caught red handed with enough drugs to keep him in jail for a long time. Apparently Australian customs tracked the yacht all the way from Portlock Reef south to New South Wales so they were obviously working on advance information.

But while all this was happening, guess who was sailing past Portlock Reef?

Right. Me!

As a result, the Papua New Guinea customs in Kieta searched my vessel. Understandably, they had no option other than to presume that I may have been involved in the Portlock Reef affair. The point being made here is that during Australia and Papua New Guinea's biggest drug haul, -the customs merely searched my vessel, the officers involved being most polite and considerate about the whole affair. In other words, the customs men of F^pua New Guinea do not give the visitor a hard time unless he deserves it. I found them all very polite and in no way officious.

The visitor must clear into every port while he remains in Papua New Guinea. It is a bit of a pain but that is their law. It is mostly a stamping of papers and a renewal of your clearance form, the old one being held until your departure.

When entering Papua New Guinea in the first place your vessel is only good for six months before duty is payable. This amounts to \1Vi per cent import duty plus 2Vi per cent levy. This duty is returnable when the vessel leaves the country. But, to repeat myself, the first six months are duty free.

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