The industry’s camaraderie has, once again, proven its invaluable worth this week, as SuperyachtNews’ network of faithful contacts have been able to answer questions and inform us on the latest news from destinations that are of high interest to our readers.

While many of the stories have been positive accounts of the continued fight against Coronavirus, the multiple ways in which the industry is helping one another, and even some sectors returning to work in certain locations, it is important that we still share the very real facts from superyacht hotspots which are currently in need of immediate help and this newly strengthened sense of ‘one industry’ and ‘one community’, as emphasised by The Superyacht Group’s Chairman.

Vanuatu is now dealing with a disaster and humanitarian crisis caused by the category 5 Cyclone Harold, on top of the pandemic and any ensuing financial crisis caused by COVID-19

Vanuatu is now dealing with a disaster and humanitarian crisis caused by the category 5 Cyclone Harold, on top of the pandemic and any ensuing financial crisis caused by COVID-19. Managing relief efforts after a natural disaster, such as a category 5 cyclone, in a remote island nation is extremely challenging at the best of times. But pair this with the two aforementioned crises, and it underlines the true scale of this disaster.

SuperyachtNews spoke to Justin Jenkin, General Manager at Seal Superyachts Vanuatu, for further information from the ground, how the industry can help, and his recommendations for yachts and superyachts in the area.

“The Vanuatu Government, the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) and locally based NGOs, local businesses and residents are all doing an excellent job of handling what we view as a very complicated and multi-layered disaster,” began Jenkin. “Currently Vanuatu has zero recorded [or] known cases of COVID-19, and we wish to keep it this way as long as possible. Therefore, any and all relief efforts need to be handled “in house” with no outside HR.

“We do have a very good level of support and commitment to date from the New Zealand, Australian and Chinese governments, who have all sent in plane loads of relief supplies to assist the locally managed relief efforts. These inbound cargo flights have been very carefully planned with the NDMO, having stringent measures in place to prevent the import of COVID-19 that could possibly arrive on these aid-drop flights,” Jenkin continued.

The decontamination of all relief supplies is taking place before departure from the donor countries and upon arrival directly on the apron at Port Vila International Airport, according to Jenkin. After decontamination, the supplies are then moved and kept secure for an additional 3 days before being handled by relief agencies and government department personnel, tasked with moving the items to the affected areas.

"We initially looked at the possibility of bringing in any superyachts willing to assist with relief efforts, but after careful consideration and risk analysis it became clear that in order to protect the people of Vanuatu, and also to protect the yachting industry, we would not bring in foreign yachts and crew to help” - Justin Jenkin, General Manager - Seal Superyachts Vanuatu

“This is obviously slowing the movement of relief supplies to these areas, but keeping COVID-19 out of Vanuatu is of extreme importance. We initially looked at the possibility of bringing in any superyachts willing to assist with relief efforts, but after careful consideration and risk analysis it became clear that in order to protect the people of Vanuatu, and also to protect the yachting industry, we would not bring in foreign yachts and crew to help,” he added.

Once the global health crisis has settled then Jenkin, his team, and the people of Vanuatu would certainly welcome any outside support, as well as visitors, with open arms once again. Relief efforts, rebuilding, and support to the affected communities will be ongoing for the foreseeable future so there will be the opportunity to help later this year for anyone able to do so.

"Until we have been given the all-clear, and border restrictions have been relaxed, our advice to any yachts and superyachts in the region is: Remain where you are currently located, be patient and wait for the global health crisis to be over before making your next move"

Jenkin has confirmed that there are no foreign superyachts stranded in Vanuatu. The country’s borders remain firmly closed to all traffic, as the Vanuatu Government took early action to shut its borders, and is very firm on maintaining this position for now. “Until we have been given the all-clear, and border restrictions have been relaxed, our advice to any yachts and superyachts in the region is: Remain where you are currently located, be patient and wait for the global health crisis to be over before making your next move. Like any virus circulating the globe, COVID-19 will eventually run its course and borders will begin to open again,” Jenkin advised.

For now, the best way for the yachting community to help Vanuatu is by financially supporting Yacht Aid Global’s Operation Nasama

For now, the best way for the yachting community to help Vanuatu is by financially supporting Yacht Aid Global’s Operation Nasama - a joint relief effort founded by local yacht agents and regional partners that all stepped in with the common goal to assist the people of Vanuatu during this time of need. Unlike other fundraising platforms, Yacht Aid Global ensures that 100% of donated funds are used to directly support relief efforts to the affected communities. More information about Operation Nasama can be found on Yacht Aid Global’s website.

Recovery is expected to take time and the combined relief operation will continue for as long as possible. Seal Superyachts Vanuatu is permanently involved in a wide range of different humanitarian projects/operations within Vanuatu, and Operation Nasama is another operation that the company is sure will be ongoing, with the support from local partners and businesses, the global yachting community and with the team at Yacht Aid Global helping them to steer a straight course.

Besides immediate financial support (for those willing and able to make contributions) what Vanuatu really needs from the international yachting community after the health crisis eases, is to go and spend time there...

Besides immediate financial support (for those willing and able to make contributions) what Vanuatu really needs from the international yachting community after the health crisis eases, is to go and spend time there. “Vanuatu is considered the highlight of the South Pacific. Ask around. There are 82 absolutely beautiful islands to explore. It’s a true paradise… Thank you to all and stay safe people!” Jenkin concluded.

Profile links

Seal Superyachts Vanuatu


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