For many pleasure vessels currently based in the Caribbean, there are concerns emerging regarding their safe movement and return in advance of hurricane season, as lockdowns continue and ports remain closed.
SuperyachtNews spoke to Paul Miller, Director of Underwriting at Hiscox MGA, and David Holley, CEO of Peters & May, to ease these concerns and provide their thoughts on the current situation. An image courtesy of Marine Traffic (captured today at 3pm GMT) shows just how many vessels, both superyachts and yachts under 30m, may need to take heed of this information.
“There are concerns without a doubt,” began Miller, “but I don’t see that it would be unreasonable for boats to leave the Caribbean and come back to the Mediterranean, so long as they take a direct route and have a thorough plan.
“There needs to be some sort of system, possibly a certificate of ‘good health’ from the destination you are leaving, so that your two-week voyage [for example, from Antigua back to Palma] counts as your isolation period,” Miller continued, referencing the various required isolation periods should individuals be able to return to their home country at present.
“Crews could possibly be much more accepting of a two-week voyage, should they be able to arrive in [for example] Palma, and get off the yacht onto land, depending on what the rules are at that point,” Miller added.
Continuing with the example outlined by Miller, Palma has already begun easing off lockdown rules in terms of workers being allowed to go back into yards, and a more positive atmosphere returning.
"For the smaller vessels [up to 30/40m], there are most probably navigation limitations and these come into play from mid-June/July until the end of October, identifying where the vessel needs to be by what date - these are the vessels that may encounter issues" - Paul Miller, Director of Underwriting - Hiscox MGA
“For the smaller vessels [up to 30/40m], there are most probably navigation limitations and these come into play from generally mid-June/July until the end of October, identifying where the vessel needs to be by what date - these are the vessels that may encounter issues,” Miller explained. After the damage and destruction in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, many insurers tightened up their Caribbean policies.
“I think that as long as owners receive pre-clearance and have a well-thought-out plan, they should be able to return from these destinations with ease,” Miller concluded.
Fortunately, for many owners who are required back in certain locations by certain dates, global yacht transporters, such as Peters & May, are still providing yacht transport all over the globe, albeit with some additional safety guidelines in place.
“We were able to position our loadmasters in key locations prior to the lockdown, and this means that we still have our experts on hand to oversee the loading of the yachts..." - David Holley, CEO - Peters & May
“We were able to position our loadmasters in key locations prior to the lockdown, and this means that we still have our experts on hand to oversee the loading of the yachts, which is vitally important to any yacht loading. The Far East slowed down immediately but we did have vessels moving yachts out to other regions,” began Holley.
According to Peters & May, across the board the demand they are witnessing at present is very similar to last year. However, on the superyacht side of things they have seen a decrease in shipments as owners are still deciding if and when they will transport their yacht.
“[The owners] see no sense in shipping their yacht if they are unable to fly to meet it. On top of that, a number of key yacht shows were cancelled, so yachts did not move. We anticipate a large volume of yachts moving after lockdown as the factories have huge volumes of stock waiting to move,” he continued.
When asked if there are any added levels of security and clearance in place regarding the movement of vessels, Holley confirmed with SuperyachtNews that each government has different restrictions in place, and Peters & May are following their guidance to every detail. “We have had to overcome some major obstacles in Antigua, where they are extremely strict and say that anyone joining a vessel must either sail with the vessel, or go into 14-day government quarantine. That has been very tricky for our loadmasters… but we have adapted, we have ships already leaving, and we have a number of further sailings coming up.
“It is vital that the yacht owners plan well in advance and check to ensure that they can move their yacht to the ship" - Holley
“It is vital that the yacht owners plan well in advance and check to ensure that they can move their yacht to the ship,” he continued, echoing the advice provided by Miller. “We have skippers on hand for those that cannot travel to load their yacht. Anyone considering bookings should ensure that whoever they book with are still able to have their own loadmasters on the ground and they should ensure that they adhere to all government guidelines,” Holley concluded.
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