Following efforts from a collection of the Asia Pacific Superyacht Association’s (APSA) members - Expat Marine Insurance, Lodestone Yachts, Anglo Easter Ship Management, Camper & Nicholsons Marinas, Benetti Asia and two private superyacht owners – the government of Hong Kong has agreed, in principle, to relax its restrictions on private yachts visiting the region – although a formal agreement is yet to be reached.
At present, according to Section 8 of the Merchant Shipping Regulation, foreign superyachts visiting Hong Kong are unable to navigate in Hong Kong’s waters unless they have qualified for a cruising license. However, in order to qualify for a cruising license the yacht must be entering a shipyard for repair, in Hong Kong to race or be changing its berthing. Additionally, the vessel would need produce a third-party risk insurance policy to cover no less than HK$5,000,000.
“Traditionally there has been no real provision for private yachts in Hong Kong,” explains Nigel Beatty, chairman of APSA. “There has been no distinction between foreign vessels entering Hong Kong, whether it is a large merchant ship or a superyacht, and it is a shame because there are some beautiful places to cruise, especially in the new territories.”
As a result of APSA’s aforementioned members’ direct involvement, the government of Hong Kong has agreed, in theory, to allow visiting superyachts cruising licenses, provided they meet certain conditions. These conditions include:
- Submitting a Pre-Arrival Notification for the vessel
- Appointing a local agent with legal responsibility for the vessel
- Submitting comprehensive photographs of the vessel beforehand
- Possessing all the necessary safety and pollution certificates
- Participating in the Vessel Traffic Service of the Hong Kong marine department
- Complying with specific traffic control measures
- Not engaging in charter, unless an agreement has been made before the vessels visit
- Possessing a third-party risk insurance policy
- Maintaining safe manning standards
- Possessing recognised navigational qualifications
Hong Kong’s Immigration Department has also applied measures that will make visiting Hong Kong far easier for superyacht crew. Individuals that require visa’s will now be able to remain in Hong Kong until their superyacht leaves, provided working on the vessel is the sole reason for their visit and that they abide by the normal immigration requirements.