Illegal tour live aboard boat in Pohnpei and Kosrae.



  • We can speculate all we want, but unless someone living in Pohnpei actually asks the proper authorities to investigate, we are just spinning our wheels with this topic.

    If I was in Pohnpei, that is what I would do.
  • I already did but the person I talked to says that he was not aware of such illegal activity but will look into it. That's is why I have my boat tied up until I hear something solid with proves. Cheers!
  • Ina Chok. you tell me what kind of permits and license you need to engage in business in Pohnpei as a Micronesian or as an foreigner on the areas bellow. You might know better than me. I could be wrong and on the wrong kind of business if these are permit, license and tax free.
    Import of food and liquor to be sold on retail (on board)
    and if you really look into it, even more.
  • Well it is a live 0n-board so what do you expect? The Liquor and Food comes as provisions of the ship. Unless Food items and Liquor are brought to shore they cannot be taxed. Food and Liquor could still be brought to shore, but as gifts and not to exceed the maximum allowed by customs. As for touring, the only permit they need is from land and reef owners if it includes diving and snorkeling. Again, the local agent probably has done all that needs to completed. You just do not know yet as to who that agent is. No ship can be allowed without a local counterpart, except on small yatchs, I haven't checked up on that. I could be wrong as all my sources are officers from Immigrations, Quarantine and Customs.
  • So does this ship have an agent? There are a couple of live onboard in Chuuk and I don't think they have agent, except the Thorfinn which is partly owned by locals like the Aten. The Oddessey and Truk Siren are 100% foreign without agent. They do have shoreside office, but not local agent. ???????
  • Ahhh, there you go. Shore side office. In other words they will do the works necessary on shore. For example, if the Kyowa comes to Pohnpei, who will be the agent? Being that this ship has its own office means it is more established. The need for an agent is only for ships that visit once or twice every now and then.
  • In every sense of the word, they are running a business in Pohnpei waters. You need more than an agent if you are running a business such as business permit, foreign investment permit and pay taxes I guess, otherwise anyone could do anything if by sail boat?
  • Hmmm interesting. Somebody somewhere in the PNI leadership knows something. No under the table deals fellas..
  • Hmmm interesting. Somebody somewhere in the PNI leadership knows something. No under the table deals fellas..
  • Boat is back for another round of tours. Anchored on Sokehs Bay right in front of Mangrove.
  • 1) If the boat picks up people at Pohnpei or Kosrae, to go on the tour, dives, snorkeling, excursions, then the owner/operator needs to have a business license from Pohnpei State.

    Ask the Pohnpei Department of Resources and Development, and/or the Kosrae State Department of Resources and Development or their equivalent, if they have a business license to operate a business within the state(s).

    2) If the owners/operators are foreigners, they need a foreign investment permit.

    Ask the Pohnpei State Department of Resources and Development, and/or the Kosrae State Department of Resources and Development or their equivalent, if they have a Foreign Investment Permit to operate within the state(s).

    3) If they bring into the FSM liquor, cigarettes and sell them onboard the vessel to the customers, they may need to have an import license.

    Check with the FSM Department of Resources and Development.

    4) It appears the operation is generating revenues from activities within the FSM. As such the business is subject to the FSM Business Gross Revenue Tax and the Tax on Wages & Salaries of any employees of the business.

    Find our from the FSM Customs and Tax Division within the FSM Department of Finance and Administration.

    5) If the vessel is foreign registered and neither Pohnpei nor Kosrae is the homeport, it might be subject to securing and entry permit every time it gets into FSM waters.

    Contact the FSM Department of Transportation Communications and Infrastructure.

    6) The vessel may be subject to seaworthiness to conduct business within FSM waters.

    Talk to the folks at the FSM Department of TC&I.

    7) If the there are any foreigners on the vessel, they need to be subject to the FSM Immigration laws.

    Find out from the Immigration Division within the FSM Department of Justice.

    8) Every time the vessel enter the ports, FSM Customs, FSM Immigration, FSM Health may need to board the vessel to conduct inspections to ensure no contrabands are brought in, applicable import taxes are levied, passports and visas are in order, and health safety for FSM citizens are secured.

    These may be some of the government requirements which can apply to the vessel and its operation. Without all the information needed to determine whether or not the vessel and its owners/operators is/are breaking FSM laws, we will continue to speculate.

  • I don't see a big problem too!
  • Thanks TruthIsThat for some clear information about this issue. I guess this one will slip through....
  • find out if there is connection between the boat operators and mangrove bay owner then work from there onward. simple has that.
  • Just talking to a few attorneys I met on the street, both who help people get their foreign investment permits, both told me the same thing...what these guys are doing is 100% illegal in every possible way unless they have all permits, visas and licenses.
  • Hi All,

    My name is Gavin McClurg, I am the owner of the boat in question (SV Discovery) and I was the captain the last time we came through in 2009 (I am a US citizen). My first mate (crew) at the time was Mikey Benjamin, a Pohnpei local. The boat is privately owned, and our guests are members in our expedition company. You can think of it like a time share, same as a condominium or resort time share. We are a private boat, cruising slowly around the world bringing our members to amazing places like Micronesia, an incredible country! We have been operating in this same manner since 1999. All of our members are owners. The one trip in question that was posted in this forum above was offered to a non-member (ie like a charter) because a member cancelled his trip and we had space on board, which is the same as any private boat taking on crew to share expenses, which is a common practice around the world. We have worked with the Micronesia government officials, who have been excellent and prudently done their jobs and we thank them for their cooperation. We have permits, most of our members are US residents so don't need a visa (those that do need a visa have gotten them in advance), and we are licensed and fully insured and most certainly haven't broken any laws. We are a private boat, we are no different than any other private sailing yacht that enters Micronesian waters and should thus be treated no differently. Please keep in mind, our members stay at hotels in Pohnpei before and after they come on board, use taxis and local tour operators to see ruins and waterfalls, and we spend tens of thousands of dollars on provisions (we do all provisioning locally and don't sell anything on the boat). For our short time in Micronesia (3 months) I would content that we are providing a huge boon to the local economy. We have paid the necessary day permits for visits to Ant Atoll and have absolutely loved our time in this fascinating and beautiful place.

    I hope this clarifies any questions. You all live in an amazing country and we are thankful and grateful to have shared so many smiles and wonderful experiences with you and hope our presence there only benefits the local economy and inspires more people to visit.

    Thank you kindly,

    Gavin McClurg
  • Mr. McClurg,

    Please provide a ball-park number of the price of the SV Discovery and the number of owners and an average ownership share of the boat. Do you pay the crew and the captain?

    Thank you.
  • It is black and white on the website....USD$7,400 for 10 days. A little business is business. As all live aboard boats payments are made abroad, nothing comes in Pohnpei except your supplies shopping. Minimum time is spend on island. I know Mikey and he wasn't part of the crew, maybe spend a day on board and that does not make the boat Micronesia Legal. Since this post first came up they took out the Pohnpei rates out of the website. If they talked to Micronesian authorities that was after they were approached for suspicious activities. They also call this a time share. A time share is a business, with an owner I guess. I don't think they are tax free in the US.
  • Mjagger,

    I suggest you calm down. All "suspicions" you might have "felt" were just answered up there. If you simply don't understand what the gentlemen from the Discovery was explaining, please find someone who does understand it and have him/her explain it to you in the least common denominator....if you please. You're being a drama queen. A rotten apple in a rather welcoming environment.
  • Mikey Benjamin was once a boat crew of this boat. Just want to support the mentioned of this young lad regarding this boat.
  • Guys, having a local on board does not make anything legal. All about the paper work we all need it to engage in business. A quick post saying I am all good to go does not make it in my books. Big boost on the local economy for me is not buying supplies in town and re selling it to your guests at $45 a day plus a cash bar. Last post....let them run their business in peace. NIce message we are sending for the local business community. Really, no idea why someone would support this or say it's ok,
  • Time to send Tax auditors to do some auditing on this business and see if all the requirements are in place.
  • which "Tax auditors", local (if there's any), national (if they're interested) or company own (if they would be bothered)? good luck.
  • Easy way is to take the captains words and check against with the office or offices who handles tax and all. Thanks
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