BVI News

Over 100 vehicles stuck in costly storage as BVIPA blocks local company’s shipments

Not the exact cargo vessel mentioned in the story.

More than 100 vehicles belonging to BVI residents are sitting in storage facilities in other parts of the region at the growing expense of the car owners; says local port agents Island Shipping, who claim they are being treated unfairly by the state-owned BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA).

As the local agent of the ship responsible for transporting the vehicles, Managing Director of Island Shipping, Christopher Haycraft, said his company has been trying to get these vehicles into the BVI since March 22.

However, when the vessel arrived in the territory on that date, Haycraft said the BVIPA turned it away after it had docked.

“We had to then write a letter to try and understand why the Port Authority would allow us to bring the ship to the dock, why the government — the Environmental Health [Department] — would give us permission to bring the ship to the dock but then the Port Authority would turn around and say ‘you can’t discharge your cargo’,” Haycraft explained to BVI News.

Health concerns

According to a BVIPA letter addressed to Haycraft and later shared with our news centre, non-essential cargo — for an indefinite period — will not be accepted into the territory because of health concerns related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In its letter, the BVIPA further described non-essential cargo as “goods and merchandise that does not fall into the category of food supplies, sanitation and other COVID-19-related response supplies, fuel, and medical supplies”.

But after making inquiries with other local shipping agents, Haycraft said they have not had the same experience.

“Other agents have said no, they have not received a letter telling them they cannot import non-essential cargo. And the port, to this day — if you go down there right now — is full of non-essential cargo being offloaded from boats,” said Haycraft, who claimed he has tried to seek recourse from other authorities.

“I am being blocked from operating in the same manner as other agents and other carriers by this letter … and I feel immensely frustrated because I cannot get an answer from the Governor’s Office, the Deputy Governor’s Office, the Premier’s Office or the Port Authority — all of whom I have written to,” he added.

“Daily we are contacted by the cargo owners for an update and I have nothing to tell them. The ship owners who operate worldwide can’t believe I cannot update them on the status. It is embarrassing.”

HEOC has not issued advice on any non-essential cargo

BVI News then made inquires to the Department of Environmental Health about the guidelines they employ when approving cargo vessels to land in the territory.

When asked if there were any instructions to the Ports as it relates to COVID-19 and non-essential cargo, Cheif Environmental Health Officer, Lionel Micheal said: “No, there is no instruction. They (the BVIPA) would depend on Environmental Health to give that advice because we deal with the items coming at the ports.”

He continued: “We have not dealt any restriction on cargo. There have been restrictions on travellers because the crew members coming on a cargo ship are not allowed not come off the ship at the port … It (directives on cargo restrictions) would come from the Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC) and we are on the HEOC. So, that would have to be discussed there and a decision taken. I don’t recall us discussing that. That’s not a high-risk area for us at this moment.”

Over $50,000 in expenses and climbing

Haycraft, in the meantime, told BVI News that the cargoes continue to incur storage charges in countries such as Jamaica and Guadeloupe where the vehicles are being kept because of the BVIPA’s restrictions.

He said the latest storage expenses amounted to $43,000. This sum is in addition to the $12,000 expense for the ship just to dock at Port Purcell without discharging its cargo on March 22.

But Haycraft is not the only party being adversely affected. Frustration is also growing among residents who purchased their vehicles and continue to wait on the shipments.

Countless emails

Jost Van Dyke resident Susan Zaluski has been awaiting the scheduled arrival of her vehicle since early April. She said ‘a chain of emails’ has been shared between her and the Japanese company from which she purchased her vehicle.

“On March 24th they said: ‘We’ve been notified by the shipping company that the schedule has been delayed due to the coronavirus’. I kind of kept asking and then the last two weeks or 10 days has been them telling me it’s either in Guadeloupe of Trinidad or Jamaica and them saying that the port in Road Town is closed. I keep saying, ‘no the port is not closed,” Zaluski said.

The BVIPA’s response

When BVI News sought a comment from the BVIPA, Operations Manager Dean Fahie said: “We’re just trying to clear up the backlog on the ports with containers, right now, so we could make space for when the vehicles start to come in. We’ve asked everybody to give us a week or two before we start to accept more vehicles.”

When questioned specifically about Island Shipping, the BVIPA Operations Manager replied: “That one there, you’ll have to discuss with the Managing Director. I don’t know the situation with that. You’ll have to discuss that with her, Mrs [Oleanvine] Maynard.”

Efforts to contact Maynard — via voice call and email — have been unsuccessful up to press time.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

58 Comments

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  1. Wow says:

    Lock Down, Job Losses, Food parcels and hurricane season approaching for many, but others complaining about delayed delivery of new cars.
    Why not learn to ride a donkey instead

    Like 12
    Dislike 87
    • Stupid Blog says:

      But Government should and will pay the costs. No, Government didn’t cause COVID but they should also have exercised common sense. No country shut the entire trade unit down and a country 100% dependent on imports that does this is committing suicide.

      Like 73
      Dislike 8
    • Grand Puba says:

      All of the people can’t ride you wow so they need their cars that they paid for.

      Like 27
      Dislike 3
      • Cut and paste says:

        Who mostly buy Japanese vehicle….. island. People…. so they don’t car if the cargo come or not. Same old VIP……they find every way to make island man know yes you can come here but just know that you a less than us and you have to take our s**t period

    • Missed the point says:

      And when every official release says “Port Purcell is open for Cargo” and the shipping company is telling you they won’t go to BVI and you’ve ordered a vehicle from half way across the world months ago you start to get nervous and ask questions. Did I buy from a company that’s really a total sham? I am tired of this bullying that people are not permitted to ask questions- and that they should just sit down in silence. Patience, yes, but it’s ok to inquire.

      Like 36
      Dislike 1
      • @Missing says:

        These VIP bullies are on every online forum bashing anyone who dares to question anything their beloved, holier than thou Government are doing. Even the honestly speaking man of the cloth are telling people to shut up and not have anything to say about what Government is doing. We are going down a very dangerous path in this Territory with this behavior. The irony is that when Hon. Fahie was Leader of Opposition he always talked about freedom of speech and Government being accountable to the people. I guess that has suddenly changed now that he is at the helm of Government.

        Like 33
        Dislike 2
    • Not Cool says:

      You are not cool. If one of the vehicles was yours you would understand. None of the vehicles are mine, but I understand. Be considerate or hush.

      Like 45
      Dislike 1
    • Eeyore says:

      Excellent point wow hope you have a strong back

    • BVIlander says:

      This whole mess is inexcusable. This surely helps to highlight and confirm the recent grumblings about the incompetency of the new management officers and board of of BVI Ports authority. Someone should be fired for this, this government seems more interested in rewarding their cronies than having the country run well. This is so sad for my BVI.

      Like 55
      Dislike 1
    • rufus says:

      you big dummy

      Like 12
      Dislike 4
    • Sounds like says:

      Sounds like some people didn’t get their monthly payoff to stick in their offshore account and thus the shipment was blocked. Giving an excuse that there is no room to unload cars is ridiculous. I’m sure the people waiting will gladly remove them as soon as they touch land. This is just incompetency and the people that instituted this should be fired.

      Like 38
      Dislike 1
    • Wow says:

      Fourty seven thumbs down. Must be a record. Why do car owners not want to replace their new cars with donkeys. Carrots are less expensive than gas and they also provide fertilizer for crops.

      Like 3
      Dislike 8
    • Shane says:

      Is there anymore space on your back?!

    • At wow says:

      You sound like the jackass you want the people them ride

  2. Surprised? No! says:

    Mrs Maynard has form for not answering telephone calls and emails when she was at the Labour Dept!

    Like 63
    Dislike 3
    • Gandalf says:

      That is the problem right there! Say no more! Why the Premier put that v********e individual there is a mystery to all of us.

      Like 33
    • P says:

      That what our Cabinet do for us. They get all those who was sent home and but a square peg in a round hold.threat those at the Port so bad send some back Government, send some home and send some to their cpuntry. But every dog going to get their day.

  3. Time for Legal Counsel says:

    It seems this Government only responds under threat of Litigation. I would seek compensation for loss due to negligent behavior. They blame all of the their criminal behavior on COVID19. Corrupt officials all over the world thinking they can do anything they please, just by saying “This is for your own safety and protection.”

    Like 53
  4. Yolo says:

    Government brokes right now there is money to be made in with tax aloud the cars to come in keep the country afloat…. it’s cargo that is in the sun if it had covid 19 it dead long time

    Like 22
  5. The problem says:

    The Board and the Acting Managing Director

    The End.

    Like 47
  6. Forward ever Backward never says:

    BVIPA is on the move full speed backwards with the helme. In these sensitive positions we need people with common sense and non partisan business practices… Good luck BVI if decisions are continually made by politics instead of qualification.

    Like 46
  7. Clearly says:

    This is a one sided story. Every story have two sides so I will wait for all the facts before I pass any judgment.

    Like 3
    Dislike 28
    • Tongue Fu says:

      @ clearly

      You will get the other side as soon as Ms. Maynard returns her call or email lol. The CEO must have spoken out of turn as he said there is no such restriction for non-essential cargo. There is one side.

      Like 24
    • @clearly says:

      Agreed. It is my understanding that the problem is with the type of cargo. With vehicles – someone from the port has to board the ship and drive the vehicles off OR someone from the ship has to drive the vehicles off the boat onto the port. With containers the cranes can be used to offload and so nobody needs to get on or off the ship. Knowing this – it gives us more understanding of why only certain vessels are being turned away.

      Like 1
      Dislike 14
      • Then why was it approved to enter? says:

        This was known prior to the ship arriving and the ship approved on this basis.

        Like 19
      • Anon says:

        What is sad is that I suspect that this is the real reason, a “can’t do” person interpreting the rules and saying that no one can get on the ship and no one can get off the ship. It shows a total failure to address the real issue and an overenthusiastic desire to follow a misguided interpretation of the rules, costs be damned. The person responsible at the PA… should be fired for this. Mr. Haycraft should definitely sue the Gov’t over it to recover his costs

      • Pirate says:

        I work on the port and your comment makes no sense

  8. Reader says:

    Great story, D!

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  9. @clearly says:

    The Port is in shambles.

    Like 22
  10. Typical says:

    Another power trip again! Ever since the COVID situation the BVI Ports have ALWAYS said they remain open and they NEVER put out anything about essential or non-essential goods, with the exception of letting food and other essentials off the port before anything else. There is incompetence at all levels of this administration while they continue to use this pandemic as grandstanding and early campaigning for next election. Totally unacceptable.

    Like 24
  11. Smh says:

    This is what happens when you put a d***y to run the port! Now look who they put to act as chairman another m** m** ….

    Like 17
  12. Car owner says:

    The excuse that no cars are allowed in as they do not represent essential cargo is totally false, I have it on good authority that many many cars have arrived since 22nd March.
    There is enough suspicious behavior here for the Governor to investigate, and, if he does not, the UK should commence a independent investigation

    Like 19
  13. Ginger says:

    Forgive if I’m wrong but I’m sure cars have arrived from stt and other us ports hut let me guess the cars are coming from japan so they are right hand drives so hey let’s punish the expats a bit more . If they had sense they would realise that 1 they could have made that money here on their own port plus tax paying for import duties

    Like 9
    Dislike 1
  14. Right Hand Drive says:

    Are these the right hand drive vehicles from China?

  15. local and waiting on my car From March 22 says:

    M****** send back the boat that was here before the said lock down and closure of the port. they took the vehicles to Only Gods Knows. Trying to get a word from M****** always busy but yet a set of boats and vehicle arrived.

    they put this lady Port to make a **** like she did in labour!!!

    SMH!!!!

    Like 14
  16. Black Nationalist says:

    Oh my oh my stop the press smh a H******t can’t get his way….for ONCE. search everyone of them vehicles he might be smuggling S***K for his people.

    Like 1
    Dislike 9
  17. Bob says:

    Seriously – we do NOT need more cars on this island. We can’t even get rid of all the wrecks.

    Like 4
    Dislike 10
  18. Government income says:

    Duty = total value of 100cars+freight+insurance @ 20%

    Plus car tax and licencing

    Gov must be too rich to turn that nice cheque away

    Like 12
    Dislike 1
    • @Government Income says:

      Are you sure the Government will make a lot of importation tax on this deal? Cheap old Japanese cars worth much of nothing is the reason why there is a boat load out there somewhere floating around.

      Like 2
      Dislike 3
  19. Car owner says:

    this is really sad on Friday night and staurday night I finish after 11 in the night and I have to pay taxi 25 dollars to drop me home and I only get 50 dollars for the afternoon I save my money send to get a car that supports to be here the 13th which is Wednesday but look at this now wow that all I can say

  20. Anonymous says:

    This is crazy, no fault of the vehicle owners or the shipping agent, whatever the rules sometimes common sense has to kick in, what a mess the BVIPA has made of this, honestly, who do they think is going to pay for this?

    Like 13
  21. Struggling Man says:

    Just racism against a white born here………and his Dad just after donating $millions to build a school.
    This really makes me sad because regardless of how well you live with the people there is no fairness to the fairer skin brothers.

    Like 11
    Dislike 4
  22. Repeat says:

    This is another case of bad port management… Months ago they stop Seaboard From coming to port for weeks. The vessel had to sail back to St Martin several weeks with BVI landers cargo. The boards is c*****t and this is another example.

  23. Complaints Commission says:

    Make an appointment with the Complaints Commissioner tel. 468 5123 or email complaints@gov.vg
    Complaint form can be downloaded from the website http://www.ombudsman.vg

  24. ??? says:

    A limit needs to be put on the number of cars coming into this territory at once. 100 vehicles waiting to come in??

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  25. dumbdown says:

    anyone purchasing a car after March 18th are idiots are the ports and borders were closed, so why make such a large purchase? As for the container that needed unloaded, the drivers to bring all the vehicles off were not from here and so could not unload the vessel, is that clear enough for you….

    Dislike 13
  26. Ausar says:

    Premier Fahie:

    DO SOMETHING, to relieve the stresses on our people!

    You are priveleged to be driven in a Limo!

    Well, there are those living amongst us, who cannot afford to be driven around like you,so whatever you can do to assist the unfortunates, DO SO!!!

    Like 8
    Dislike 1
  27. Concerned BVIslander says:

    So when is Government going to address the number if used vehicles Imported from Japan. The rate these vehicles are coming into the territory is creating a serious problem on our limited roads. I am not blaming or bashing those who buy them because they have to buy what they can afford but unless Government decide to limited the number of these cars the traffic situation will worsen. Soon we will have to think about ways to cut down on traffic congestion and one possible way is to limits the number of cars on the road.

    Like 2
    Dislike 5
  28. British says:

    ******d is not getting a fare cut on the deal. Simple as that….why Fahie put her their knowing she’s want a cut under the table?

  29. Concerned says:

    this is very simple buying these cars from Japan an influential local merchant was out of profit for 100 cars so stopped the import. Nothing new about that, the island will never change. The owners should get a good lawyer and sue Port Authority, … and the BVI Government for the expenses.

  30. Right Sed Fred says:

    Do we really need 100 more cars on the island? And what is with all the d%$# scooters?

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  31. CAR STUCK IN LIMBO says:

    IF YOU HAVE A CARGO/VEHICLE STUCK IN LIMBO THEN YOU SHOULD CALL THE BELOW NUMBERS
    4943475 OR 5472427
    MAYBE IF WE ALL CALL WE GET OUR VEHICLES?

  32. dumb says:

    there are 5000 more cars in the lot waiting to be sold

  33. Common Sense says:

    This is unreal. I made contact with the sister agency in Jamaica. They were told that the Port of Release (Tortola) is closed for incoming cargo. That was a statement made to them by a port official. A lot of people have invested in getting transportation to make their lives easier and the lives of those who they depended on. I think that this is extremely inconsiderate. ZERO communication. What is this?!

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