Coronavirus protocols and best practice for captains, crew, owners and guests The coronavirus outbreak has thrown the maritime industry into turmoil, with no vaccine or treatment available for the time being, and testing not yet universally available. It’s fair to say that yachting has some unique challenges with COVID-19 on the scene. We asked some specialist maritime medical experts how captains can mitigate the risks of cruising with owners or chartering with guests. Specifically, what steps can captains take to minimise the health risk to crew in the day-to-day operation of their yacht? Dr. John Ross is an emergency physician at the Halifax Infirmary, Nova Scotia, Canada, and serves as medical director of Praxes Medical Group, a private sector telemedicine provider to remote sites around the world, and as provincial advisor on emergency care to the Deputy Minister of Health. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada (FRCPC) in emergency medicine and is a professor of emergency medicine at Dalhousie University, with a focus on acute airway management. He also works as a trauma team leader, teaching rural trauma team development courses throughout the Maritimes. Michelle Currie is Operations Manager for Praxes Medical Group. Michelle […]
Given the current border closures, restrictions on travel and uncertainty about the Mediterranean season, we are understandably receiving MANY queries from crew about their visa status. Anyone in Spain currently, stamped onto a boat but with an expired tourist or Schengen visa, should not worry about overstaying. Visas are currently suspended and no punitive action will be taken by authorities upon inspection. However, travelling to anywhere that is not your country of residence on an expired visa, or stamping off a boat without departing the country, may prove problematic. There are no easy answers, but if you have a specific question about your visa status, we will do our best to find you an answer.
The issue of coronavirus testing is a live one, with much information and disinformation being shared on social media and, worryingly, by some agencies. The Balearic government has approved the provision of clinical tests by just two private hospital laboratories in Mallorca. The PCR test (checking for coronavirus) has an efficacy of 80-90%, with results available after 24-48 hours. The price of the PCR test is capped at €200 for non-residents, or €150 for permanent residents. In addition, an immunological test is available, checking for antibodies, to indicate whether someone has had the virus. This test is available additionally or separately, at €50. The two tests are carried out by physicians at a private hospital after carrying out a general medical check, costing €103.42. In total, we offer the following procedure: Medical check €103.42 PCR test €200.00 Immunological test € 50.00 Additionally, Estela charges a €35.00 + VAT fee for agency assistance and administration. Best practice is to take both tests after 6/7 days of arrival into Mallorca, to allow time for coronavirus cells to develop following possible infection. Optionally, new arrivals may choose to take the immunological test immediately upon arrival, where the presence of antibodies would […]
From today, Friday 15 May, Spain has brought into law mandatory 14-day quarantine for all arrivals from outside Spain, including returning nationals and permanent residents. GENERAL All international travellers will be subject to hygienic sanitary checks upon arrival Health authorities may contact quarantined persons to track their movements When symptoms such as fever appear, cough, shortness of breath, fever, or other symptoms, quarantined arrivals must telephone the health service on 061, indicating they are in quarantine for coming from abroad Cross-border workers are exempt from these measures Travel agencies are obliged to inform in-bound passengers of these measures at the beginning of the ticket sales process Airlines must supply passengers with a public health form, stating your intended location during quarantine, which must be submitted upon arrival CREW ALL persons arriving from outside Spain have to serve a two-week quarantine. This may be served on board, as long as this is confirmed by the captain or management of the vessel. Arrivals, by air or sea, must provide proof of address (or vessel) where they will quarantine. Upon arrival of a yacht from outside of Spain, time spent sailing/cruising non-stop before arrival in Mallorca counts towards time to be spent in […]
Today, on Tuesday 12 May, the Spanish government has announced a tightening of restrictions on arrivals into Spain, bringing the already-required 14-day quarantine for new arrivals into law. This new law comes into effect from Friday 15 May. In order to protect the healthcare system as movement restrictions within Spain are eased, the authorities intend to strengthen epidemiological surveillance and control capacity, enabling early identification and containment of sources of contagion. In order to minimise the risk coming from people arriving from outside the country, new measures for the implementation of control and isolation are to be introduced. – All international travellers will be subject to hygienic sanitary checks upon arrival– Health authorities may contact quarantined persons to track their movements– When symptoms such as fever appear, cough, shortness of breath, fever, or other symptoms, quarantined arrivals must telephone the health service on 061, indicating they are in quarantine for coming from abroad– Cross-border workers are exempt from these measures, including crew– Travel agencies are obliged to inform in-bound passengers of these measures at the beginning of the ticket sales process– Airlines must supply passengers with a public health form, stating your intended location during quarantine, which must be submitted […]
May 11, 2020 Today, Monday, May 11, the de-escalation for recreational navigation begins for Spain’s autonomous communities moving to Phase I, including the Balearic and Canary islands. The Order TMA/400/2020, published in the Official State Gazette (BOE, here https://boe.es/boe/dias/2020/05/10/pdfs/BOE-A-2020-4912.pdf), establishes limitations regarding the permitted number of passengers on board recreational vessels and geographical limitations. In accordance with this new Ministerial Order, it is worth highlighting, among others, the following requirements to practice recreational navigation in each phase: PHASE I – You can already practice “recreational navigation”, by people living in the same province, island or autonomous city in which their boat is moored.– Jet skis and pleasure boats or vessels may not depart more than 12 miles from the port or mooring facility from which navigation begins.– Occupancy on board may not exceed 50% of the certified capacity of the boat, unless all occupants reside at the same address, in which case 100% of capacity may be used, to a maximum of 10 persons.– In the Balearic Islands, navigation by boats used for recreational or sports purposes by their owners or authorised persons is allowed.– Permission for owners or authorised individuals to visit boats for security and maintenance checks is extended […]
By decree, issued on April 29th, crew from third countries must provide the following documentation to Spanish immigration authorities before being permitted to enter Spain for work purposes. a) Card or professional certificate (certificate of competency or proficiency) or seaman’s identity document or Seafarers’ identity document or Discharge book. b) Document or employment contract of the shipping company, the recruitment and placement agency, or the captain of the vessel, proving their designation as crew member (employment agreement or letter of appointment). This documentation must include, at least, the name and flag of the vessel, the port where it is located and the estimated date for boarding or disembarking. Crew must provide proof of accommodation, where applicable, during their travel to or from the Spanish port where the ship is located. Contact us for more details email@example.com +34 971 722 532
We are receiving many queries from non-EU crew with expired visas, or with limited time remaining. The initial guidance in March from local immigration police was that days remaining would “no longer be counted”, suggesting that visitor visas would be frozen in time. Immigration officials now clarify that this is not the case, but that those leaving Spain on an expired visa will not be penalised. Visa expiry dates remain valid, in other words. In order to leave a boat and travel out of Spain on an expired visa, you will require a transit visa, as normal. If you have any specific queries about your or your crew’s visa status, please get in touch and we will consult the authorities on a case-by-case basis.
Spanish authorities have published new exercise guidelines in a de-escalation of the COVID-19 state of emergency. The schedule for de-escalation varies from region to region, so for the sake of simplicity, these are the new regulations for Palma de Mallorca only, valid from Saturday 2nd May. If you are outside of Palma, please consult your local authority for permitted exercise times and restrictions, as this is regulated per municipality, depending on population size. Adults and minors aged 14 years and up may go out for walks or exercise between 06:00-10:00h, and from 20:00-23:00h, once per day. For walks the maximum radius from home is 1km. Exercise may extend further but is limited to the municipality where you reside. ✅ You may use bicycles, scooters, roller-skates, surf boards; as long as the exercise is done SOLO, once per day, staying within municipality. ✅ You may walk with one other person from your household, within 1km from home, once per day. ✅ Masks for walks or exercise are highly recommended, though not obligatory. ✅ You must at ALL TIMES keep at least a two-metre distance from other persons. ✅Always clean/disinfect any equipment used while outside and remember to observe hand-washing guidelines. 🚫Use […]
From today (Monday 4th May) Spain’s Ministry of Transport has relaxed restrictions covering general transportation The use of masks that cover the nose and mouth is mandatory for all users of bus, rail, air and sea transportation. In the case of passengers on ships and boats, the use of masks is necessary only in shared or public spaces. It is also mandatory for users of passenger transport in vehicles of up to nine seats, including the driver. Transport service workers in direct contact with travellers must be provided with masks and have access to hydro-alcoholic solutions to practice frequent hand hygiene. In private and supplementary vehicles of up to nine seats, including the driver, two people can ride per row of seats, provided they use masks and respect the maximum possible distance between occupants. In vehicles such as vans, with only one row of seats available, a maximum of two people may travel, provided that occupants use masks and keep as much distance as possible. https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2020/05/03/pdfs/BOE-A-2020-4789.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0D8OOB6G_DQIDPWEtfsq_EELayRZPBN1iSwQcrPpkHrkwt-iPN3pnE3Wo
Port of Melilla, with the agreement of the Government Delegation, has reopened to yachts wishing to carry out operations in the port or for long stays, taking advantage of Melilla’s financial&custom benefits. To enter the port, these requirements must be met: -Declaration of the captain with body temperatures of each crew member. -Only crew are permitted on board and upon arrival, crew will be tested for COVID-19 (by AP) -Obligatory 14 days’ quarantine on board, before being able to disembark. -Obligatory to use a consignatory agent for supplies during the 14-day quarantine. Contact us for assistance or information
On 30th April, Spain’s Ministry of Transport issued the following clarification regarding the phased easing of the Coronavirus lockdown and a return to new normality, specifically for the recreational nautical sector. These are the key steps, as planned, which are subject to amendment in the event that the current health emergency re-escalates. Key steps Phase Zero, from Monday, 4th May You may not navigate by boat for leisure, unless it is done solo, for sport, as an amateur physical activity. Certain sailing boats (eg dinghy) can be sailed as a sport. You must reside in the same municipality where the boat is located and navigation is subject to geographical limitations. NB. Please remember that paddling by oar or hand is not permitted inside the port area, as is sailing. You must motor, or be towed, to outside the port area. Phase One, from Monday, 11th May Recreational cruising may start as a cultural and leisure activity, by limited groups of people residing in the same municipality. Health measures such as heightened hygiene standards must be observed. Cruising is restricted to the waters of the province or island. Phase Two, from Monday, 25th May Recreational cruising is permitted for larger groups […]
The latest edition of our annual superyacht travel guide is ready to go and will come off the press in May, as soon as we are able to resume operations. If cancelled or rescheduled events or activities have re-opened your marketing budget, this is your opportunity to promote new event dates, products or services! Our itineraries are: Melilla to Tangier, Best of Balearics, Canary Islands, Antigua and Panama. There is still time to get involved and put your brand in front of 9,000 owners, captains, guests and yacht industry professionals, so get in touch! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: +34 971 722 532
Like other suppliers, we have been offered self-testing coronavirus kits for re-sale to clients. The demand for tests certainly exists and we receive enquiries daily, though the efficacy of such tests is doubtful, with accuracy no better than 60%. In other words, you may as well flip a coin. For this reason, we are declining to offer the kits currently available, as we can’t vouch for their usefulness. In particular, a negative reading does not mean the user does not have SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19, and can give false reassurance. It is, however, advisable to carry oxygen on board and we can provide you with oxygen kits or spare cylinders. Oxygen is no substitute for medical ventilation, but may be used in emergencies prior to hospitalisation. If you have been in physical contact with anyone with COVID19 or are displaying any of the symptoms below, we can arrange for a test carried out at a private hospital, after consultation with a doctor. Being a private facility, any test or treatment is not free. The local public health emergency number is 061. Symptoms: Persistent cough Headache Tiredness, muscle pain Mucous secretions from the throat Loss of taste and smell
There has been a small number of yacht departures from, and arrival to, Mallorca in recent days. While the guidance around yacht movements remains unchanged, successful representations have been made for allowing yachts to return to their home port or shipyard. Regular arrivals by yacht transporters continue to set local chat forums alight, but as such yachts qualify as commercial cargo, up to the point of discharge, operators continue to work as scheduled. Yachts delivered to Palma may be moved to marinas or permitted to continue on to their home port, so should your yacht be out of position and in need of relocating, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Following revised guidelines issued by the European Commission on 14th April, crew changes may be permissible, though no official decree has been issued to that effect by the Spanish government. This means that an official request to the Spanish authorities must be presented in each instance, in order to obtain explicit authorisation for inbound travel. As consignatory agents, we can prepare and present crew-change requests on owners’ behalf, prior to crew embarking/disembarking. Please note that inbound crew can be required by the Spanish authorities to observe a 14-day quarantine on-shore before embarkation, to be spent in accommodation close to the embarkation point. Arrivals may be infected and are a potential threat to the health of fellow crew members and anyone else with whom they may come into contact on board. Note that an authorisation to enter from Spanish border police does not guarantee permission to board a flight in the country of origin. Contact us for more details
On the recommendation of the European Commission this week, current travel restrictions in Spain are to remain in force until 15th May at least. In general, this means that travel in Europe remains limited to repatriation for nationals or residents. There are, however, exceptions for key workers, such as transportation workers (including seafarers), or those travelling for reasons of safety or emergency. An essential condition is that inbound transportation workers ensure the immediate continuation of the trip. There may be exceptions for people travelling for imperative family reasons, or reasons of force majeure, each assessed on a case by case basis. Inbound travellers without prior authorisation from the Spanish authorities may be denied boarding in the country of origin, while local authorities may yet deny departure, depending on local restrictions and criteria for travel. If you require clarification or assistance, feel free to contact us: Contact us on +34 638 816 803 /+34 971 722 532 or email email@example.com
Last night (9th April), the Spanish government did not renew the interim restrictions that brought all non-essential work activity in Spain to a halt two weeks ago. As such, limited works are again permitted and are set to resume after the Easter break. Now permitted, subject to strict guidelines: Non-essential work inside yards and workshops, by crew and contractors For clarity, these restrictions remain in force: No yacht/crew arrivals or departures Travel remains severely restricted and must be authorised by yachts’ management As ever, enforcement remains open to interpretation by the individuals making inspections, so it is advisable to check with yard management and enforcement officers before proceeding with any non-safety related works. Work sanitation guidelines remain in force: Access to the workplace is prohibited to those individuals tested positive, or symptomatic, or having been in contact with any suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases Social distancing guidance must be observed Masks and gloves, at a minimum, must be worn during interaction with outside contractors. Hand sanitiser must be available. To subscribe to our coronavirus special newsletters, please take one minute to sign up: bit.ly/Estela-Coronavirus-Emails. To receive critical updates by WhatsApp (admin posts only, no chatter) click here: bit.ly/WhatsApp-C19-Alerts
Estela is working hard to respond to all the challenges that the coronavirus emergency brings. Now, we are able to provide you with services and products to disinfect your yacht and minimise the risk of spreading the virus on board. Our deep cleaning service uses the most powerful sanitising products, applied methodically by professional cleaners, in accordance with strict usage guidelines. Depending on the most suitable solution for each area of the boat, application is either liquid or aerosol, applied hot, cold or micro-sprayed. The sanitation process takes place after crew members have disembarked. Cleaners will proceed to disinfect all areas and systems on board; crew mess, galley, staterooms, aircon vents, engine room etc. Once crew move back on board, it is crucial to remember that the SARS-CoV2 virus can remain on many surface types for long periods of time. All areas must be cleaned with disinfectant, including door handles, railings, banisters, push buttons, switches and any surfaces touched by hand. Outer clothing or footwear worn ashore must also be cleaned upon boarding. Any items brought on board (including cardboard/paper) such as packages or food items should also be cleaned individually. The above processes are recommended to maintain good health […]
We have heard from a number of yachts still in the Americas, reluctant to cross back to the Med among the current uncertainty. It remains possible to transport your yacht this month, with a number of slots remaining available. As commercial cargo, yachts continue to be transported and can be discharged in a number of European locations, while we are able to secure berths as needed. Contact us to enquire about sailings.