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New Bahamas lockdown set, protocols for yachts ‘being developed’

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UPDATE: April 6, 4 p.m.

Although the previous lockdown across the Bahamas expired at 5 a.m. this morning, Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis advised parliament today that another would begin on Wednesday. In part, he said:

“A complete lockdown will again be implemented effective Wednesday, the 8th of April, at 9 p.m. and will end at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, the 14th of April. At the end of that lockdown period, the 24-hour curfew will again resume.

“A shutdown will occur each weekend beginning 9 p.m. on Fridays and ending 5 a.m. on Mondays. During this shutdown, all services are prohibited, with the exception as follows:

  • all hospitals in The Bahamas,
  • the Royal Bahamas Defence Force,
  • the Royal Bahamas Police Force,
  • the media,
  • security services,
  • hotels with guests
  • emergency units of core publicly and privately owned public utilities, namely, electricity, water, telecommunications, and
  • a strictly limited number of exempted undertakings, such as domestic and international import/export trade.

“The lockdown means you may not leave the confines of your property, for any reason, unless there is an emergency or unless you are working in an entity which will be specifically named, or identified by the function being performed, in the Lockdown Order.

“This means you may not leave your property to exercise, even if it is in your immediate neighborhood. You must stay at home or in your own yard.”

Later in the statement, the prime minister said: “Protocols for yachts and other pleasure craft are being developed. The main purpose of which is to encourage as many of ‘these people’ already within Bahamian territorial waters to return to their countries of origin for the duration of the pandemic.” To read the full statement, click here.

UPDATE: March 29

AYSS Superyacht Global Network has compiled a website intended to help share updates regarding ports and yacht agents globally during the COVID-19/Coronavirus outbreak.

For more information, visit COVID19Superyachts.com.

UPDATE: March 27, 2:45 p.m.

As governments around the world attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, many have issued restrictions and guidelines. As details continue to change, here is a list of the latest with links to follow official sources for clarification and information.

France

Maritime movement in the internal and territorial waters of the French Mediterranean Sea are prohibited due to effects of COVID-19, according to local governments.

The following classes of vessels are authorized in French of “Arrêté préfectoral N°037/2020 du 20 mars 2020” from Préfet Maritime Méditerranée:

  • – commercial vessels providing logistical links;
  • – professional fishing vessels used in the course of their fishing activity;
  • – passenger vessels operating on a regular basis for territorial continuity;
  • – cruise ships and non-scheduled passenger ships whose port call is accepted by the authority vested with port police powers;
  • – ships used for works on infrastructure at sea or in ports;
  • – ships participating in marine scientific research campaigns or campaigns of strategic interest;
  • – ships under repair in a shipyard as part of a convoy or sea trials (subject to the express agreement of the Signal station (sémaphore) closest to the shipyard);
  • – ships providing a pilotage service;
  • – ships providing a bunkering service for the benefit of other ships.

These ships are also authorized to anchor in compliance with the regulations in force.

For updates, visit https://premar-mediterranee.gouv.fr/ and https://limitesmaritimes.gouv.fr/. For updates from European Committee for Professional Yachting (ECPY), visit www.ecpy.org.

Antigua and Barbuda

The government of Antigua and Barbuda banned inbound commercial traffic from North America and Europe until April 9 in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, effective March 26. And any foreign national who has visited the United States, Canada, or European within the previous 28 days will be denied entry. For more information, visit https://ab.gov.ag/

Virgin Islands

The government of the U.S. Virgin Islands has restricted activity to essential services until April 6. 

The Virgin Islands Port Authority is open. American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Seaborne and Cape Air have reduced schedules or have canceled flights to and from St. Thomas. No airline cancellations have been reported for St. Croix. All three car ferry companies operating between St. John and St. Thomas are operating on modified ferry service schedules and inter-island passenger ferries are operating as normal, but with reduced passenger capacity. The QE IV ferry, which services the St. Croix-St. Thomas route, has halted operations until further notice.

The Edward Blyden Terminal closed operations on March 25 until further notice. Customs services will be available at the Blyden Terminal from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Cargo operations in the territory will continue as normal. The V.I. Port Authority reminds the public that all its seaports and mariners operate under the rules and regulations set by the U.S. Coast Guard.For more information, visit https://www.vi.gov/.

ORIGINAL POST: March 26, 4:12 p.m.
As governments around the world attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19, many have issued restrictions and guidelines. As details continue to change, here is a list of the latest with links to follow official sources for clarification and information.

Sint Maarten

The government of Sint Maarten has closed its territorial waters to foreign vessels as of March 24. Travel restrictions for shippers and mariners include megayachts, pleasure vessels, passenger vessels, and sailing yachts.

Vessels are no longer allowed in Simpson Bay Lagoon to conduct fuel bunkering and provisioning activities, according to Prime Minister Hon. Silveria Jacobs, chairman of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Such activities are allowed “where the vessel is already docked at a facility that provides such at a marina or docking location.”

The government site cites non-compliance as the impetus for the rule. 

“It was brought to the attention of the EOC on Tuesday that procedures were not being followed in accordance to the directives that were stated before in order to protect the external borders of the country,” according to the declaration. “Due to the non-compliance, vessels who require fuel bunkering and food provisioning will have to do this at Port St. Maarten, which has a sterile port protocol in place.”

Vessel agents and marinas remain responsible for providing shore support to vessels while ensuring that crew and/or staff adhere to the current government COVID-19 restrictions. Following are several points from the recent regulations:

All crew members and captains that are allowed entry as a result of the exemptions and the crew of all vessels that are currently anchored in bays or docked at any of the local marinas on island “are requested to remain onboard of their vessels for the duration of the travel restrictions that are currently in place for both air and sea travel. Shore leave is prohibited. Local vessel agents and other support services will remain responsible for providing shore support to vessels that choose to remain anchored or docked in the waters of Sint Maarten. They are asked to ensure that their clients and the relevant crew comply with the above-listed conditions.”

Vessel operators are reminded to contact the officials via the emergency number 914 or VHF Channel 16 if any crew members or people on board their vessel are experiencing flu-like symptoms. Vessels are required to submit a copy of their Maritime Health Declaration 48 hours prior to their arrival to the department of Collective and Prevention Services.

The Bahamas

All sea ports are closed to “regional and international seafaring and private boating” and no visitors are permitted to enter the Bahamas by international flights, or to disembark for any reason including transiting through The Bahamas, according to an emergency order issued by the government of the Bahamas, as of March 24.

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation is following guidance from the Bahamas Ministry of Health and other government agencies pertaining to the country’s Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19. At this time, there are four confirmed cases of coronavirus isolated in quarantine in Nassau.

The exclusions are set to expire at 9 a.m. on March 31, unless otherwise stated. 

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