- CURRENT NEWS / Pacific Ocean
- 4 January 2022
IN THE POST-COVID WORLD, the protocols and procedures for superyachts cruising the world will undoubtedly change and adapt to medical advice, political will and technological advancement.
GSR will keep speaking with government authorities, captains and shore agents to keep our collective finger on the pulse of what superyachts should expect when on the Great Southern Route.
We will bring the information as it comes to hand, however, we strongly recommend always checking with your preferred shore support agent as changes can be rapid and hard for us to verify.
Following are the latest updates from the Pacific.
“All passengers are now required to present to the air carrier upon boarding a negative result of an RT-PCR or antigen test, carried out within 24 hours prior to boarding their departing flight to French Polynesia.
“If it is not possible to perform an RT-PCR test within 24 hours then, it is advised that travelers present proof of a negative antigen test taken within the previous 24 hours coupled with an RT-PCR test taken within the previous 2 days.
“If it is not possible to perform an RT-PCR test within 2 days, then, travelers may present a negative test result from an antigen test taken within the previous 24 hours. However, in this case, an RT-PCR test will be carried out on arrival at the expense of the traveler from January 10, 2022. Pending the results of this test, it is requested that travelers strictly respect barrier gestures and avoid any non-essential contact.
“On arrival in Tahiti, all travelers are subject to additional tests carried out by the authorities. These results may be demanded at any time by the local authorities.”
Tourisme Tahiti More Details
“A compelling reason is required for travel between the United Kingdom and France (including overseas territories) regardless of the traveler’s vaccination status. The measures applied to adults are extended under the same conditions to accompanying minors.
These reasons do not allow travel for tourism or professional reasons.
All visitors from the United Kingdom planning to travel to The Islands of Tahiti today are asked to postpone their trip to a later date.”
“As of December 6, new requirements for entry and transit in the United States require an RT-PCR or antigen test to be taken less than 24 hours prior to departure from French Polynesia, applicable for all travelers aged 2 years and older.”
“As of December 4, the French government will require a negative RT-PCR or antigen test to be taken less than 48 hours prior to departure from French Polynesia for all travelers aged 12 years and older arriving in French territory including The Islands of Tahiti.”
“The curfew is now lifted on all the archipelagos and wearing a mask is no longer mandatory outside.
“All international visitors and residents will now be required to carry a Health Pass which indicates your vaccination, negative COVOD-19 test or recovery certificate. It is required for travel within French Polynesia as well as to visit events, exhibitions, nightclubs, hospitals and more.”
“Flights connecting with France from and to French Polynesia will once again transit through the USA from November. Thus, it will be up to each traveler to comply with American regulations when entering, stopping over or transiting on the American territory.
Travellers – exemption for travellers under 18 years – who wish to enter the United States by air are required to show full proof of vaccination against COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the United States from a foreign country, even for a transit.”
“In the context of the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 in French Polynesia, the conditions of entry to The Islands of Tahiti, as well as the conditions of travel within the territory of The Islands of Tahiti, have been modified as follows:
“For the movement of people within its territory applicable from Saturday 9 October to Sunday 17 October 2021 changes include:
“Nautical charter and pleasure cruising may resume with a specific protocol for their activity for cruises departing from the Windward Islands and Leeward Islands with respect for barrier measures:
Tourisme Tahiti (More detail)
“All visitors arriving Panama via International airport (Tocumen International Airport/PTY), onboard or by land – regardless of the country of origin – holding a FULLY COVID-19 vaccination card or QR/digital (14 days or more from last COVID shot) will not require to arrive with a negative PCR test and do not require to quarantine.
“Visitors arriving from ‘High Risk’ countries not FULLY vaccinated 14 days prior to arrival will be required to arrive with a negative Antigen or PCR test completed 72 hours or less prior to arrival plus do another COVID-19 test upon arrival at their own cost and will be in quarantine for 72 hours in an authorized hotel at own cost. A second COVID-19 test will be done at the hotel on the 3rd day also at their own cost and if Negative then the person will be released. If the result is Positive the person will need to stay in the hotel for an additional 14 days (at own cost).”
Shore Support Agent, Alessandro (Alex) Risi
“The Ministry of Health has announced that as of 2359 hours December 2nd, 2021, temporarily suspend the entry into the territory of the Republic of Panama, all people who have stayed or traveled in the last 14 days before entering Panama through the countries of the African continent (South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbawe, Malawi). Whether they do it by air, land or sea, using commercial or private means.”
Shore Support Agent, Alessandro (Alex) Risi
“The Panama Canal has just announced a Lane outage in Gatun locks beginning 2200 hours October 6th, 2021, until 0100 hours October 9th, 2021 (2 days).
“Significant delays will be expected during this period and even a few days after the outage is completed as one Lane of Gatun locks will be closed leaving only one Lane open which will reduce the daily capacity of the canal to schedule unbooked vessels during this period. Boats looking to arrive and transit during this period (without delays) need to consider booking transit as soon as possible as the daily canal slots offered by the canal will run out rapidly. The canal offers the booking slots on a first-come, first-take basis.”
Alex Risi, Shore Yacht Agent (More detail)
“As at the 27th September, Panama City’s Curfew will cease. Curfews in Colon, Vistamar Marina and San Carlos remain from 0100 to 0400 everyday.
“San Blas is now open. The crew that arrives fully vaccinated over 14 days prior does not require a PCR test from the last port. The requirements and documents to be sent 3 to 4 days prior arrival including a copy of yacht’s registry, copy of all passports, copy of last ten ports with departed dates, arriving crew list (including the country and date where all crew joined the boat), a copy of last port clearance, a letter sign by the captain confirming that all crew arriving on board are in good health and do not have symptoms of COVID-19.
“Bocas del Toro (Red Frog Marina) remains open.”
Shore Support Agent, Alessandro (Alex) Risi
“Visitors from all countries are welcome to visit Panama, however, a negative COVID-19 test is required for entry for non-vaccinated travelers.
“Non-vaccinated travelers arriving from or that have transited through High Risk countries in the last 15 days will be required to quarantine for 72 hours in a hotel, and the cost of the stay must be fully covered by the traveler. However, travelers arriving from these countries that can present a complete vaccination scheme, equal to or greater than 14 days after the last dose, will be exempt from the 72-hour quarantine.
“Currently, mobility restrictions are in place as well as mandatory curfew at night time.”
Panama Tourism More Detail
“Staring 1 December 2021, Fiji will initially offer quarantine-free travel to fully vaccinated travellers from Travel Partner countries.
“Currently, these are Australia, New Zealand, United States of America, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Qatar, Germany, Spain, France, Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and most Pacific Island Countries and Territories.”
Fiji Tourism (More Detail)
“Although Fiji has recorded a small number of cases and initiated lockdowns in some areas, the Blue Lanes initiative has been unaffected and we are still welcoming cruising yachts and superyachts. The lockdown measures will be reviewed on May 10 2021 but it will not affect Blue Lanes as the Fijian Government is committed to marine tourism.”
Shore Support Agent David Jamieson, Yacht Help Fiji
“Fiji is now open for owners and charterers to cruise the islands, perform all water sports and visit uninhabited islands during the two-week quarantine period. Additionally, as a benefit to charterers, the government has reduced charter tax from 10 percent to just 5 percent.
“Since the launch of the innovative Blue Lane Initiative, the Fijian government has opened their shores for superyachts to enter Fiji, carry out crew changes and, most importantly, allow owners and charterers to enjoy cruising Fiji aboard their yachts.”
“Fiji has fared well with its response to COVID-19. The Blue Lanes program allows yachts and owners to access the islands of Fiji without compromising health.
“No more than 72 hours prior to departure for Fiji, all the crew need to complete a RT-PCR test and return a negative. With the paperwork in order, the yacht can depart for Fiji and count time at sea toward quarantine.
“Once 14 days of quarantine is complete and the crew has returned another negative test, the yacht is cleared into Fiji and can access the marina. Crew flying in to join the yacht must go through a similar procedure but complete 14 days quarantine in an approved hotel.
“Superyacht guests can cruise Fiji. Similarly, they must provide a negative result to a test no more than 72 hours before flying. The Fijian authorities must be provided with flight details and the guests will be met at the aircraft and transported to the yacht, who can then depart on a pre-approved cruising itinerary.
Additionally, the yacht must hire a chase boat with Fijian navy personnel on board to ensure the yacht does not come into contact with any of the local population.
“Many yachts have taken advantage of the Blue Lanes initiative with great success.”
Shore Support Agent David Jamieson
“Last week it was announced by the Covid-19 Commissioner that fully vaccinated travellers coming from countries that aren’t deemed to be high risk (*The Phillipines and India), will no longer need to quarantine on arrival as long as they test negative at the airport.
“This is positive news as it will help us start to facilitate crew change outs in PNG ports. We have had several vessels make technical stops over the last months but unfortunately, no crew change outs were able to take place. This should help this process along.”
Sasha Dettori, Shore Support Agent
“Officially we have reached herd immunity in the Galápagos Islands. Most of the population above 12 years old has been vaccinated. The only requirement to enter the Galápagos Islands is to get an RT- PCR test 72 hours before boarding the Galapagos flight or 72 hours before departing from the last port.”
Associated Ships Agent
“The guidelines will establish that travelers may submit any of the following requirements to enter continental Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands:
Ministerio de Turismo More detail
“Palau is indeed open. We welcomed our first yacht on August 17, and our second yacht on August 24. We presently have four additional yachts confirmed to arrive in the next several weeks and are assisting numerous others with preparations. One change has occurred to the arrival procedures that now requires PCR testing upon arrival and again on day 5 following arrival. Previously testing was only required on Day 5.
“Up until the two recent cases (imported), Palau remained COVID-free since the outset of the pandemic. In February the government embarked on a strategy to Open With Care to manage Palau’s transition from COVID-free to COVID-safe. To date, Palau has achieved a total vaccine rate of 87 percent of population and almost 100 percent vaccination levels for the adult population. Vaccination of 12 to 17 year olds is almost fully completed.
“Borders are now open to those who are fully vaccinated without the need for quarantine.”
Palau Super Yachts
“In accordance with the Palau Ministry of Health Directive #20-21 and Bureau of Transportation, Port Manager Directive #2021-001, yachts are now able to apply for entry to Palau. The two directives are intended to be read together however in the case of any discrepancies, the Ministry of Health’s directive takes precedence.
“Key entry guidelines include all of the yacht’s occupants having received the full (two doses) US FDA or WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine 14 days prior to arrival; proof of a negative result from a PCR test within days of departing for Palau; all visitor must have a COVID-19 test on their fifth day in Palau; and all yachts must give notice 72 hours, 24 hours and 12 hours prior to arrival.”
Palau Super Yachts
“Vanuatu’s borders remain closed. There is no clear timeline as to when the borders will reopen.
“I’m expecting this situation to continue at least until the middle or end of 2021 while Vanuatu monitors the progress of the global vaccine roll-out and whether or not the vaccine(s) will allow travel to resume this year.”
Shore Support Agent Justin Jenkins, Seal Superyachts Vanuatu
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