Important information COVID-19

March 19, 2020 by Sharron Beck

Here you will find all the essential information island by island. Last update : Oct 13rd, 2020

Panama

Here is a short recap on the situation in Panama, provided by our member, Shelter Bay Marina (SBM) on Sept 4th, 2020 :

1/ Vessels allowed to come into the country.

  1. 14-day quarantine still required.
  2. SBM will assist in getting paperwork done and provisioning.
  3. Special permit for Fueling and water can be obtained with no crew disembarking.
  4. If a humanitarian flight is to be taken by any of the crew on board, 14-day quarantine can be expedited with vessel coming in the day of the flight and crew leaving straight to the airport.
  5. Arrival of vessel documents and passport stamp can be arranged at SBM.
  6. Masks and social distancing required in the facilities.

 

2/ Panama Canal (ACP)

  1. Operating as usual.
    1. Under 65 feet need to comply with 14-day quarantines to get measured, exceptions have been obtained and speedy measurement has happened to cross, but no permit to disembark on the other side until 14-day have passed.
  2. Over 65 feet, you can get measured and continue your trip.
  3. Special nesting’s with 3 vessels and 7 crew, 3 captains and 4 line handlers are still happening but with ACP authorization and can be revoked any moment, if something happens to one vessel and can’t continue other 2 could be affected.
  4. Crossings happening in daytime, start at 6:00 am out on the Pacific by 5:00 PM the same day.

 

3/ Leaving Panama

Zarpes being issued with no problem, need to have:

  • Panama Cruising Permit
  • Letter of your next port confirming they will be receiving you

 

4/ Curfew

  • Being eased up on Panama City.
  • Plan for reopening starts on September 7.

 

5/ Vessel Movement

    1. From port to port with an authorization from AMP and MINSA.
    2. Within the same port for a day sail or testing allowed.

6/ Airport scheduled to open on October 12th 2020.

If you have any questions or specific case, our member Shelter Bay Marina will be pleased to assist.


French Polynesia

Since July 15th, 2020, quarantine measures are lift and French Polynesia’s air borders re-open to international tourism from all countries.

Maritime borders are still closed. Any travelers arriving by sea from a region outside of French Polynesia must:

Register with the authorities (DPAM) of French Polynesia;
Make a maritime declaration of health in accordance with international health regulations;
Meet testing or quarantine requirements for crew/passengers:
Present proof of a negative result from a RT-PCR test carried out within three days prior to departure from the last port of call, or spend more than 14 days at sea for a crew composed of one person, or spend more than 28 days at sea for a crew composed of more than one person.
As an exception to 3., any person wishing to land in French Polynesia must carry out, at his own expense, a RT PCR test. Only persons producing proof of a negative result are authorized to disembark.

If the conditions are not met, all passengers and crew members of the same ship must submit to a quarantine measure carried out on board the ship stationed, if necessary, in a dedicated area. The duration of the quarantine is 14 days from the day the vessel is parked or anchored in French Polynesia. The vessel shall fly the quarantine flag.

All informations on the Yellow Flag Guides website: https://en.pf.yellowflagguides.com/covid-19-informations/.


Tonga

Internal restrictions have eased within Tonga and movement is fairly unimpeded. Yachts already in Tonga must inform customs of any movement between islands.
The borders remain closed to all foreign arrivals including yachts.
Some repatriation flights have occured from NZ and Fiji. At this point there are no indications of when borders may re-open.


Fiji

Download the official arrival plan for Fiji with the application and quarantine procedure.
Fiji’s maritime borders are now open,  please follow the rules and don’t ruin it for everyone.

  • You must have an AIS that is always on during your crossing.
  • Enjoy the Fijian hospitality and always be respectful for everyone that lives in this amazing country!

Most of the clearance requirements are relatively the same as previously, however there are some important changes:

  1. You need to have a negative Covid-19 test result and leave your current destination within 48 hours after receiving it.
  2. You must use the services of an approved Yacht agent
  3. You will need to undergo 14 days of quarantine, however the “time at sea” counts towards that 14 days.
  4. Once you have been checked by the Ministry of Health and there is no signs of Covid-19, you are then cleared by the relevant authorities and you are free to enjoy all of  Fiji for the next 18 months.

Fiji Registered agents are:

  • Seal Superyachts
    • Chase Smith
    • Phone: (679) 9996556
    • Email: chase@baobabmarine.com
  • Yacht Parnters
    • Josephine Morris
    • Phone: (679) 9927986
    • Email: jo@yachtpartnersfiji.com
  • Yacht Help
    • David Jamieson
    • Phone: (679) 7505000
    • Email: david@yachthelp.com

 


New Caledonia

It is forbidden for any pleasure craft, to stop over or anchor in the internal waters and territorial waters of New Caledonia, except if they have an exemption granted by the Haut Commissariat.

BUT ships in transit already present in territorial waters or forced to release in New Caledonia because of their autonomy have to contact the port of Noumea and report to the MRCC.

More Information is available on Port Moselle website.

New Zealand

For those yachts wanting to sail to New Zealand, they need to apply to NZ Customs before departure by answering extra health and movement questions, in addition to their regular Advance Notice of Arrival. The NZ agencies involved will then be contacted by customs on your behalf to request approval of entry.

Due to the quarantine time spent on passage to New Zealand, and the ease of any continued isolation aboard, the marine industry campaigned for the ability of yachts to enter.
As we now cautiously step down from strict isolation the feeling is optimistic that COVID 19 will soon be contained in NZ. The America’s Cup 2021 is still programmed to happen .

The NZ Government has just released the attached document * updating and clarifying the border entry process for those who are able to get an exemption. 

If they are not applying on the grounds of getting a lot of necessary work done on the boat there needs to be other genuine humanitarian reasons or compelling reasons than just coming to “winter over” in New Zealand. So it will depend on the individual boat’s situation and how well they can express this.

A vessel may also be exempt if the Director-General has granted permission for the vessel to arrive in New Zealand for humanitarian reasons or other compelling needs. Humanitarian reasons or other compelling needs would be unlikely to include situations relating solely to financial loss, or to vessels travelling primarily for pleasure or convenience such as tourists or ‘wintering over’. People in vessels travelling to New Zealand to ‘winter over’ (e.g. to avoid hurricane/cyclone season in the Pacific) may have other genuine humanitarian reasons or other compelling needs for coming, which would need to be demonstrated in order for these vessels to qualify for an exemption. Exemptions should be sought before the vessel departs for New Zealand and must be obtained before the vessel arrives in New Zealand. Ideally vessels will not begin their travel to New Zealand before receiving a decision, so as to avoid the need to change plans mid-journey if they are declined. Applications take 15-20 days to process. “

Wallis & Futuna

The islands of Wallis and Futuna are still Covid free.
Given the current sanitary crisis, access to the waters of Wallis and Futuna is prohibited to recreational yachters until further notice.

Specific authorizations may be granted to yachters presenting a situation of distress, damage, or any other subject to the appreciation of the local authorities. In this context, people must comply with the sanitary prescriptions ordered by the medical teams of the Health Agency, in particular any containment measure.

By air, only passengers coming from New Caledonia are allowed to travel freely, without any specific health protocol.
Passengers wishing to come from the mainland France or any other country must contact the Public Information Unit (CIP) of the Prefecture: cip@wallis-et-futuna.pref.gouv.fr

Any request to enter the Territory from mainland France must be the subject of a compelling medical, family or professional reason, backed with supporting documentation. Travelers whose requests have been accepted will have to follow a strict sanitary protocol prior to their trip, as well as upon arrival.

 

Galapagos

Is it possible to visit Galapagos during the pandemic? 

There is a protocol for the entry of visitors and yachts approved by the Government Health Authorities. It is mandatory that all crew have an RT-PCR test done less than 72 hours before their departure for Galapagos with negative test results. (additionally, there are more requirements to enter the islands).

Besides, some measures are also mandatory like wearing masks and keeping distances when going shopping.

The Galapagos Authorities supported their decision to open the islands to tourism, considering the evolution of the virus. So far, in the island territory there is no community contagion of Covid-19 and we only have a few cases.

In addition, the protocol will be maintained until the beginning of 2021.

For further information, do not hesitate to email our partner Yacht Agent, M. Javier Plúa Rizzo:

YACHT AGENTS GALAPAGOS

Office: +593 53 014 958

Mobile: +593 987 229 577

Email: yachtagentsgalapagos@gmail.com

Galápagos islands – Ecuador