Important information COVID-19

March 19, 2020 by Sharron Beck

Here you will find all the essential information island by island. Last update : Nov 14th, 2020

Panama

Here is a short recap on the situation in Panama, provided by our member, Shelter Bay Marina (SBM) on Nov 14th, 2020 :

Panama is after the US the most open destination in the Americas, its safe and has a very aggressive follow up and testing  program.  Very good medical facilities which expanded to meet the pandemic and have never been overwhelmed, ICUs are less than 50% occupied. It also has the inexpensive cruising vessel regulations and indefinite length of stay.  Marinas are at about 50 % of capacity, fuel and provisions are at the best price in the Caribbean, service and parts are readily available.

1/ Vessels allowed to come into the country. Panama never closed, the canal transits slowed for a few weeks but never stopped.

  1. A COVID test on arrival, test negative (wait about 24 hours for results) proceed to the docks and the country. Universal wearing of masks, temperature taken everywhere, lots of disinfectant everywhere you go. Most business are open, bars and restaurants limited capacity.  A 14-day quarantine applies if you fail the test.
  2. SBM will assist with programming COVID test
  3. Special permit for Fueling and water can be obtained with no crew disembarking.
  4. Arrival of vessel documents and passport stamp can be arranged at SBM.
  5. The airport is open with scheduled flights to Europe and the Americas.
  6. Recreational boating open, although some restrictions may apply as local government’s implement the rules.
  7. Masks and social distancing required in all facilities.
  8. CAUTION COVID TESTING on arrival is not available at all ports of entry. Check with the port prior to arrival.

 

2/ Panama Canal (ACP)

  1. Operating as usual.
  2. Special nesting’s with 3 vessels and 7 crew, 3 captains and 4 line handlers are still happening.
  3. 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

  • Gone for now could be reintroduced if cases increase

 

5/ Vessel Movement

    • From port to port open

6/ Airport is open COVID test negative 48 hours prior to departure or COVID test at the Airport $ 50. If you test positive 14 days in a hotel at your expense.

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 occurred 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 Partners
    • Josephine Morris
    • Phone: (679) 9927986
    • Email: jo@yachtpartnersfiji.com
  • Yacht Help
    • David Jamieson
    • Phone: (679) 7505000
    • Email: david@yachthelp.com

 


New Caledonia

The territory of New Caledonia is Covid free.

Foreigners are not authorized to arrive in New Caledonia, borders remain closed. Pleasure craft are not allowed to stop over, except if they have a permission granted by the Haut Commissariat.

If a pleasure vessel has to stop for distress reasons or compelling needs, the procedure is to contact MRCC on arrival, the only authorized entry port is Port Moselle in Noumea.

Check information at the maritime affairs website, and have access to the full procedure :

https://dam.gouv.nc/actualites/25-03-2020/covid-19-page-dinformation-sur-les-mesures-prises-dans-le-secteur-des

A compulsory quarantine of 14 days in a hotel is in effect for all passengers arriving on a yacht.

More Information is also available on Port Moselle website.

New Zealand

  • The America’s Cup early 2021 is still on!New Zealand’s borders are closed to foreign visitors, however there is an exemption application process in place for those yachts wanting to sail to New Zealand.

    The Government released the attached document * updating and clarifying the border entry process for those who are able to get an exemption. It is based on the grounds of getting a lot of necessary work done on the boat and 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. Now that we are past the October elections here it seems applications are being slowly processed (amongst over 100,000 other visa applications to enter NZ by air.)

    It is advisable to use an agent as the application is complex and your case needs to be well presented along with quotes for repair / refit work planned. Exemptions must be sought before the vessel departs for New Zealand and must be obtained before the vessel arrives in New Zealand.

    At this stage, if you take 12 days on passage, a further 2 may be quarantining onboard. If you arrive before 12 days uninterrupted sailing you will be transferred to a quarantine hotel at your expense for the remaining period.

    The Bay of Islands port is the only allowable entry port at this time.

     

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