In early January 2002, a sudden tsunami wiped out the entire fleet of canoes that Poste Italiane used for mail delivery.
These had been supplied under contract from the Dutch construction firm Plezierboot Plesse since 1997 as part of an accord under the developing European Economic Union. Plezierboot Plesse negotiated with Poste Italiane to replace the canoes at cost price, on condition that all international canoe mail be routed via the Netherlands for franking before being delivered to its final destination, for the period up until full payment was received.
Poste Italiane, finding itself up the creek without even a paddle (as those too had all been washed away), reluctantly signed the agreement and thus all overseas canoe mail was redirected to the Netherlands until late March 2002.
The normal Express Canoe Mail surcharge from Italy to Australia was 3,00.
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Express Canoe Mail proof, issued Jan 2002
Express Canoe Mail surcharge proof, Italy-Australia
Express Canoe Mail redirection surcharge of 0.40, hand-drawn, Italy-NL-Australia
Covers from this period paying the Express Canoe Mail surcharge are scarce.
23 January 2002
EXPRESS CANOE MAIL
REDIRECTED - ITALY - NL - AUSTRALIA
Letter to Australia with the Netherlands 0,75 and 0,39 values paying the priority international letter rate, tied with Nieuwegein "Schrijven zegt meer" slogan cancel.
Cancelled on arrival on 31(?) Jan 2002 at Sydney East Letters Facility with the "SELF ML502" dot matrix machine cancel.
Express Canoe Mail surcharge paying 3,00 from Italy to Australia, also commemorating the First Rowing Cruise.
Hand-drawn ornate Express Canoe Mail surcharge of 0.40 pays for redirection through the Netherlands.
* Only recorded Express Canoe Mail cover to Australia showing redirection to the Netherlands.