The French yachting media are this month reporting on recent changes to Articles 62 of the French Customs Code in respect of its application towards the control and inspection of yachts by French customs.
This follows the application of law no. 2014-742 which restricts the ability of French customs agents to stop and search yachts without holding a relevant warrant in advance of the inspection being made.
A copy of the law can be found here on the official website of the French government:
In summary this law applies privacy rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights to private life onboard a yacht with the following principal consequences:
- Controls at sea
The searching of private areas (such as cabins and saloon) must be carried out in the presence of the ship-owner or his/her representative.
In addition this search must be supported by a valid warrant and the recipient of the warrant must be advised of his right of appeal.
- Controls at port
A yacht moored in port for more than 72 hours is considered to be a residence and therefore access to private areas can be withheld unless customs hold prior approval from the ‘juge des libertés et de la détention’.
For further information please do not hesitate to contact us.