What'd They Need a Pilot For? They Found Canada Fine the First Time

Draken Harald Hårfagre, the Viking ship currently visiting the Americas, has been forced to withdraw from "the Tall Ships Challenge 2016," an event held on the Great Lakes. The reason is that Canada decided to slap them with a massive pilotage fee in spite of having promised them that they wouldn't.
The ship was invited to participate in the Tall Ships Challenge Great Lakes 2016 and entered the waters of St Lawrence and the Great Lakes with information from the Great Lakes Pilotage Authorities that a ship of the size and variety of Draken Harald Hårfagre would be excepted the requirement of pilotage. “…Foreign ships of less than 35 meters in overall length are not subject to compulsory pilotage in the Great Lakes Region”

The expedition relied on the information from the Pilotage Authorities and the possibility not to be a subject to compulsory pilotage. Unfortunately the project learned, when entering the St Lawrence Seaway, that the ship is required a pilot at all times while at sea with no possibility of reduction in cost. The cost for the pilotage, if the ship were to participate in the schedule for Tall Ships Challenge Great Lakes 2016, is well over 400 000 USD.

The fees are not within reason for a non profit sail training vessel, it blocks the opportunity for any foreign tall ship to enter the Great Lakes and visit the ports.
Indeed not, though I think there's a decimal point missing in that fee. It looks like the charge is going to be closer to four thousand dollars than four hundred thousand.

Still, that's silly given that this is a Viking ship conducting a nonprofit educational mission and not a commercial freighter. You'd think some good-spirited pilot would volunteer his time, and Canada would have the decency to waive the fees. The only thing more rapacious than a boatload of Viking warriors is a Canadian tax collector, I suppose.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They did not misplace any decimal. They'd need over $400,000 for pilots. And it's the US side, not the Canadian side that's the issue. Apparently, the Great Lakes Authority (labor union) for pilots won't allow for volunteer pilots.