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  1. #1
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    Default Update Greek Port Police Procedures

    Some time ago, Jim B asked for inputs on new Greek harbour check-in/check-out procedures. He had been given the impression that the very stringent requirements of checking into and checking out of every port had been relaxed and he asked for inputs on actual processes.

    Well, I have just spent the last week in Kos and Symi and I decided to ask the PP here what their understanding was. This is clearly the two places in all of Greece where adherence to rules are the most paramount. The PP in both places claimed that there had not been any change in the rules; you are still required to check into and clear out of EVERY Greek harbour EVERY time. The PP in Kos even directed me to this web page run by the Greek Ministry of Tourism that contains the rules:

    http://www.gnto.gr/pages.php?pageID=172&langID=2

    They claimed that if the rules would be changed, which they clearly thought was a very low probability, it would be announced on this page. I already knew of this page and as Jim B has noted; it has not changed in a long time. The PP also was quick to tell me that these rules are crucial to defend the Greek and EU borders and therefore are very unlikely to change. I had to severely restrain myself from commenting on the fact that sitting in an office putting rubber stamps on paper might not be the most efficient manner of border control. How about actually going out and patrolling the border? It has been tried very succesfully by other countries! But no, I was not brave enough to say this to an officer with a big gun on his belt.

    My understanding of the Greek PP situation is unchanged and they are still in place: these silly rules are unknown or totally disregarded in the Ionian. Then they get gradually and unevenly more implemented the more east you get; until you get to Kos and Symi where it is almost religious. Rhodes and Tilos are very close in adherence to the letter of the law.

    Now, in real life; things are very different. Most (if not all) cruisers totally disregard these rules. I have many cruiser friends who have cruised Greece for many years without any piece of paper or a rubber stamp. The risk of discovery is very, very low as the PP spends most of their time in their officies and are not patrolling. I have lately joined this majority of cruisers and are now disregarding the rules totally. However, if you do, you shouild be aware of what you are doing and make sure you yourself are happy with the risk/reward balance.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Update Greek Police Procedures

    In a few days time, we have a 2 week charter out of Turgutreis, Greek flagged boat based in Turkey. Asked the charter company wot extra cost to stop over in Kos or Simi -answer 250 EUR, plus down time for paperwork. So , no we won't be visiting these Greek islands this year.

  3. #3
    PLEIAS's Avatar
    PLEIAS is offline Registered User
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    Default Re: Update Greek Port Police Procedures

    Hi there,
    As i am Greek and live and sail in Greece there are some answers to your questions that are not clear since in your country there are different authorities.First of all the PP stands for Port Police and that should cover their role.Greek and therefore EU borders to the east is patroled by the Greek Navy with the assistance of a special unit of border patrol more like coast guard special forces.Last time i heard there were no attempts to enter the EU borders in tte Ionian Sea unless your concept of geographical borders is different.Yes they do seem to put stamps all day and you should be glad as Greece is not the Police-controlled country as some other EU members are so enjoy it but don't overdo it.Best regards and have fun where you can still have fun...
    A ship is safe in the harbour but that's not what ships are built for...

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Update Greek Port Police Procedures

    [ QUOTE ]
    Yes they do seem to put stamps all day and you should be glad as Greece is not the Police-controlled country as some other EU members are

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Hi Pleias! I know that you as a Greek don't have to follow these rules, but please then understand how difficult it is for us other EU citizens to have to endure these silly rules. The idea with the EU is that rules are the same for all EU citizens in the whole union. The Greeks are not playing by the rules here. IMHO

    I am not sure what 'other EU members' you are thinking of here? I don't know any other EU country where you have to check in and out of every harbour with the port police. It is a very special Greek requirement and it is a clear violation of the basic EU rules of free movement within the union.

    Yes, I know that the term 'PP' is a bit sloppy, we have used it for so long that it has stuck. I have understood that they have now merged with the Coast Guard (sorry, forgot what that Greek term is). However, that has not changed their behaviour one bit; although they now sport classy 'Hellenic Coast Guard' uniforms, they still just sit in their offices and put rubber stamps in documents. I am not sure they even have any boats.

    I am sorry but I have to disagree with your description of the role of the Greek Navy. These 'PP' or 'Coast Guard' types are very adamant that they are the ones protecting the borders from illegal entry (from behind their desks). I think the Greek Navy is protecting you from an attack by another Navy.

    And yes, I know where the Ionian is. Why don't you read the rules and you will learn that they are intended to have effect OVER ALL OF GREECE. That they are not is another, not completely understood, matter.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Update Greek Port Police Procedures

    Certainly in 1994, in Portugal (mainland, Porto Santo & Madeira) the procedure was Police, Port Authorities and Immigration, in and out in each harbour. In 2004 it was the same in the Azores and I don't think the situation has changed since then, so Greece isn't the only country to have a different interpretation of the EU rules.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Update Greek Port Police Procedures

    Yes, Portugal had a similar system to the Greek but that thas has been scrapped, I think in 1999. Don't know about the Azores, but is that really EU? I know it is formally part of Portugal, but thay have, together with Madeira, a lot of "non EU" rules especially in tax.

  7. #7
    vyv_cox's Avatar
    vyv_cox is online now Registered User
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    Default Re: Update Greek Port Police Procedures

    We returned last night from a summer in Greece. I agree that the required procedures are confusing and not understood, particularly by the Port Police. On clearing in at Gouvia we read a large notice issued by the PP there. This clearly said that it is only necessary to have the transit log stamped once per month. I queried this with the officer there, who confirmed it.

    Arriving at Prevesa a week or so later I took the log to the office, to be told that I needed to have it stamped in every port. At Vathi, Ithaca, the lady PP refused to stamp it, reiterating the 'once per month' rule. At Killini a PP man toured the quay in a car, sending every yacht skipper up to the office to get stamped (and pay!). In Zakinthos an official took every transit log as soon as the boat arrived, in our case before we even had our warps sorted. Here we were charged considerably more than elsewhere, for reasons that were impossible to understand.

    Finally, we returned to Prevesa before hauling out. On our last day afloat I visited the PP office for a final formality, just as the Japanese Grand Prix was finishing. The same officers refused to stamp my log (far too busy watching the TV), telling me that the yard would do it after we hauled out. This turned out to be completely untrue, the yard has no jurisdiction to do it.

    I have spoken to many yachtsmen who don't even have a cruising log (not a good idea IMHO) and others who have gone as long as 18 months without having it stamped. If you get caught by the PP they might say something but more than likely won't. There is no computerisation, so it is not known where any yacht has been or is going to. If you spend a night at anchor, then perhaps it might have been three nights or three weeks? Nobody cares.
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  8. #8
    jimbaerselman's Avatar
    jimbaerselman is offline Registered User
    Location : Greece in Summer, Southampton in Winter
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    Default Re: Update Greek Port Police Procedures

    I'm afraid you may not understand the fundamental difference between the application of the Napoleonic code of law, and the liberal code, familiar in UKand USA among others.

    The Napoleonic code is prescriptive - describes what you may do - and all other activities are not permitted. Most of the Med coutries adhere to the Napoleonic code to varying degrees. Inevitably, the law is always out of date. Officials, if asked about the law, will quote it. The officials are also realistic, and realise that if (in the case of Greece) they applied the rules, many islands without port police would starve, since no traffic to them would be permitted. They have therefore apply various tolerances to allow life to be lived. Well done for them finding a way around presciptive law.

    The same issues affect all Napoleonic code influenced countries. Officialdon has very great powers, which are rarely excercised, unless you anger a local politician or competitor. Try doing business in France, Italy or Spain.

    My website gives the most exact guidance possible for yotties faced by these uncertanities. I differentiate between the law, and the practice.

    If anyone doesn't like the uncertainty concerned between what the law is, and how it's applied, they should keep clear of France, Spain, Portugal and Italy. That would be boring though. And,frankly, in Greece, they'd be missing out on one of the world's cruising areaqs which offers incredible variety and lot of sun.

    PS, the reported possible relaxation in procedures for non-EU yachts was an abberation . . . lucky fellow. My site will be upddatred when I can get a more rekiable connection.
    JimB
    http://jimbsail.info helps Skippers plan Europe Cruises

  9. #9
    jimbaerselman's Avatar
    jimbaerselman is offline Registered User
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    Default Re: Update Greek Port Police Procedures

    [ QUOTE ]
    Hi Pleias! I know that you as a Greek don't have to follow these rules, but please then understand how difficult it is for us other EU citizens to have to endure these silly rules.

    [/ QUOTE ] You're in error here. The identical laws apply to him as they do to you or me in out EU flag boats. It's just that he's used to the system and accepts it.
    JimB
    http://jimbsail.info helps Skippers plan Europe Cruises

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Update Greek Port Police Procedures

    [ QUOTE ]
    I'm afraid you may not understand the fundamental difference between the application of the Napoleonic code of law, and the liberal code, familiar in UKand USA among others.

    Try doing business in France, Italy or Spain.

    My website gives the most exact guidance possible for yotties faced by these uncertanities.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Yes Jim, I do happen to know something about the Napoleonic code. I based my doctorate of law on it (at a 'liberal' university: Cornell, NY). I think you are the one who don't know what its implications are and are drawing nonsensical conclusions from your misunderstanding. The PP rules are just bureaucratic bullshit, that you can find in any country. It has nothing to to with any 'Napolean' tradition.

    It is nonsense to equate doing business in Greece with France, Italy or Spain. Just doing that comparison shows that you have not been doing business in all those countries. I have.

    I would recommend that everyone treats any recommendation that Jim gives on his website with extreme caution. It is a mix of outdated information and wishful thinking. Apart from the geographical information, which is really good, I would treat it as a not very good description of present reality.

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