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Trump calls for changes to U.S. policies on Cuba travel

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Yachts with plans to travel to Cuba are still expected to be able to go, but may face tighter restrictions under a proposal issued by President Donald Trump on Friday.

Those who are subject to U.S. jurisdiction will still be able to engage in authorized travel to Cuba by cruise ship or passenger vessel, according to Clay Naughton, a maritime attorney with Moore & Company in Miami who works with yachts that travel to the island.

“Our clients can continue to travel to Cuba by private vessel as long as they have the proper permitting and the purpose of their travel is authorized under one of the remaining OFAC [Office of Foreign Assets Control] exceptions,” Naughton said.

Many of the yachts the company works with visit under the environmental exception and work with Seakeeper International, he said. The 12 categories of the general license to travel to Cuba, put in place by the Obama administration, continue to be in effect.

Lisa Greenberg, president of Pacific Bound Yachts, said that it is important to note that “nothing has changed right now”.

According to the White House website, the “policy enhances travel restrictions to better enforce the statutory ban on United States tourism to Cuba. Among other changes, travel for non-academic educational purposes will be limited to group travel. The self-directed, individual travel permitted by the Obama administration will be prohibited. Cuban-Americans will be able to continue to visit their family in Cuba and send them remittances.”

The Department of Treasury and the Department of Commerce have 30 days to draft new regulations before policy changes can be finalized, which may take several months.

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Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton.

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