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SuperyachtNews COVID-19 Advisory – Spanish update

Miguel Ángel Serra, partner at Albors Galiano Portales, provides an update on the situation for yachts arriving in Spain…

Following my comments in a SuperyachtNews interview last week, on the impact on the arriving of superyachts in Spain due to the declaration of the national state of alarm, things have changed and are changing very quickly.

As all will know, Spain, as well as the EU and many other countries, has been put on lockdown and all ‘non-essential’ movement has been restricted. Since 17 March, the external EU borders have been closed to citizens of third-party countries for at least 30 days. Therefore, any ‘non-essential travel’ into the EU area (including Schengen member states and Schengen associated states) is restricted.

On 19 March, the Spanish Minister of Transport issued an order establishing, among others, the prohibition for all recreational vessels, private and commercial, from entering the ports of the Balearics and Canary Islands, regardless of its place of origin, with exceptions only in extreme humanitarian, medical or public interest circumstances.

Yesterday, 29 March, the Spanish Government approved the Royal Decree-Law 10/2020 (RDL), by which all employees of ‘non-essential activities’ (‘essentials’ are described in its annex) must remain at home between 30 March and 9 April. The RDL, which is immediately applicable, is to increase restrictions on the movement of people caused by economic activity and, therefore, manage the pressure on Spain's healthcare system. Marinas are not included in the annex as an essential activity.

It is important to point out the following:

1) The RDL foresees that non-essential activities are allowed, when necessary, to keep a minimum number of staff to maintain ‘essential minimum activity’. This is most likely what marinas will do, as far as it is absolutely necessary, to keep a minimum number of staff for the maintenance and upkeep of the marina facilities during this period.

2) At the request of the Spanish Federation of Marinas and Touristic Ports (FEAPDT) and ANEN (Spanish Nautical Businesses Association), on 27 March, the Guardia Civil issued a very relevant document stating the procedures and measures to be taken by marinas for arriving private and commercial yachts from Spain, EU or third countries. The Guardia Civil criteria is that restrictions to the freedom of movement of people and private vehicles on public roads would also be applicable to private yachts sailing in Spanish territorial waters, at least upon arrival of the yacht at the marina.

Disembarkation of crew or guests on board is a completely different matter. The criteria established by the Guardia Civil, which must be followed throughout the whole Spanish territory, states that disembarkation may be allowed only in cases of force majeure and always on condition of the positive evaluation by the government delegation. Therefore, the general rule upon arrival is that guests and crew are not allowed to disembark, and must remain on board for the quarantine period (currently until 13 April, but likely to be extended), and follow all confinement measures established for the rest of the population.

In relation to the specific procedures, it is necessary for yachts to first get in touch with the marina for berth booking and relevant arrival information. The marinas will ask yachts to provide, as soon as possible, the required documents and information, including the yacht’s name, certificate of registry, origin, departure date, ID of all crew and passengers, and to fulfil the health declaration forms. The marina will communicate the local restrictions to the yacht and will provide all such information to the Guardia Civil. If, due to force majeure reasons, someone on board should need to disembark, it must be communicated to the marina, who will in turn let the Guardia Civil know and the Government Delegation will decide.

We are trying to verify with the Ministry of Transport (specifically with the Directorate-General for the Merchant Marine), the Ministry of Development and the Ministry of Interior in Madrid, if the criterion for the arrival of yachts is applicable not only to state ports (e.g. Palma, Ibiza, Mahon, Barcelona, Valencia) but also to regional ports in the Balearics. Further clarity is needed because, on 26 March, the Managing Director of Regional Ports in the Balearic Islands issued an instruction with a much more restrictive criterion that only allows yachts to enter in regional marinas and ports in cases of a force majeure.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, SuperyachtNews is dedicated to providing the superyacht industry with the most up to date and practical information available. If you have a piece of key advisory content that you would like to share with the market, please contact


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