The Royal Belgian Sailing Club in Belgium, suffering from a boycott by UK yachtsmen over red diesel, is begging sailors to come back.
In an appeal through Yachting Monthly magazine, the club said no UK yachtsman, armed with a VAT receipt, will be fined for having red diesel in his tank.
‘It would be a real pity to have a cruise to such a magnificent area as the Belgian coast spoilt by the red diesel myth,” Maurice Beke, secretary-general of the Zeebrugge-based club, wrote to YM. “Indeed, stained diesel is, by decision of the Ministry of Finance, no longer an issue for British yachtsmen. And should you have a random Customs visit, which is rare, then a simple recent receipt, no longer than one year old, from a UK fuel station, proving that VAT/Excise was paid in the UK, will be sufficient.”
According to YM, the argument is between the EU, which says the UK is breaking European regulations on the use of red diesel, and the British government, which says red diesel can be used by leisure sailors as well as fishermen, because duty is paid, albeit only for that used in propulsion and not that used for heating.