Fiji is now allowing VIP Blue Lanes to go ahead on a case by case basis. This means that owners/ guests/ charterers are able to get into Fiji on their private jets and able to meet with their superyachts that is allowed to cruise (but not disembark) during their quarantine period.
The requirements are as follows:
• Engage with a Fiji Yacht agent
• Provide a negative RT-PCR test <72hrs from departure. This has to be a laboratory test on a letterhead.
• Provide an itinerary on where they intend to cruise within Fiji waters
• Bear cost of a shadow boat during their quarantine cruising period
• Adhere to all conditions as per the Blue Lane initiative under the Fijian COVID Safe Economic Recovery Framework.
The three registered Superyacht Yacht Agents in Fiji are:
- Seal Superyachts
- Chase Smith
- Phone: (679) 9996556
- Email: [email protected]
- Yacht Help
- David Jamieson
- Phone: (679) 7505000
- Email: [email protected]
Attached you will find the minimum benchmark for VIP Blue Lanes framework which highlights the process of entry on different levels. This is great news for Fiji and our region. Once again Fiji has demonstrated the sort of creative initiative that has made Fiji the Hub for superyachts in our region.
FRCS today has confirmed that foreign flagged vessels can move freely within Fiji waters. Vessels are required to apply for a cruising permit with iTaukei Affairs Board. Once you have your cruising permit, you must take it to Customs to get a coastal clearance which enables you to cruise through Fiji without clearing in and out of different regions.
After months of advocating to the Fiji Government, we are delighted to announce that the Prime Minister of Fiji, today in his speech declared maritime borders open for foreign flagged vessels and Superyachts.
There are however strict conditions to follow to ensure entry. PM’s speech highlights the requirements:
Fiji will be establishing safe ‘blue lanes‘, open to those yachts and pleasure crafts sailing to Fiji. Any boat coming to Fiji will be carefully considered on a case-by-case basis. The only port of entry will be Port Denarau Marina. If this pilot project is successful, extending blue lanes to other ports and marinas will be considered.
Those eligible to sail to Fiji fall under two categories, both of which will require them to be tested in another country before departing.
- If their journey to Fiji will take 14 days or longer uninterrupted at sea, once they dock in Fiji and show proof of a negative test result, everyone on board will be screened by the Ministry of Health for symptoms. If they’re deemed to be healthy, their yacht will be allowed to freely visit other ports throughout Fiji.
- Alternatively, those with a journey at sea shorter than 14 days will be required to make up the difference in quarantine once they dock in Fiji at their own cost. So, say they spend eight days alone at sea –– they will then be required to pay for six days of quarantine in Fiji, after which they can be cleared by a negative test result, also at their own cost.
- All visitors must download the careFIJI App to enter the country.
Please refer to PM’s full speech for full details and further information on other border requirements and restrictions in Fiji.
If owner/crews of a yacht are on 04 months visitors permit, they can apply for further extension of 2 months. Application form attached with following requirement:
1. Filled in Application form;
2. Copy of passport bio-data page;
3. Copy of arrival stamp on the passport;
4. Copy of yacht clearance paper; and
5. Application fee of F$91.00 per applicant.
Once owner/crews of a yacht completes 06 months of visitors permit from date of arrival, they can apply for “special purpose permit”. (form and checklist attached)
We have not exempted any application fee.
For more information, you can visit our website: www.immigration.gov.fj
Hope this clarifies.
Manager Immigration – Western Division
Fiji Immigration Department
Airport Central Building, Namaka, Nadi
P.O Box 9022, Nadi Aiport, FIJI
Phone: +679 6722263 (ext. 626103)
Email: [email protected]
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As you may be aware, on the 15th May, the Craft Risk Management Standard for biofouling on all vessels arriving into New Zealand (the CRMS), came into force. The CRMS aims to reduce vessel biofouling by requiring vessels to take out preventative measures and maintain a clean hull before they arrive into NZ.
The enforcement date marks a transition from the last four years, where vessels were encouraged to comply voluntarily, to one where arriving vessels must carry documentation showing one of the three measures in the standard has been applied.
These measures are:
- a) Cleaning the hull within 30 days prior to arriving in NZ and providing MPI with documentation of that clean; or
- b) Conducting continual hull maintenance using best practise, such as IMO biofouling guidelines, and providing MPI with documentation of that management; or
- c) Conducting hull treatment using an MPI-approved provider within 24 hours of arriving in NZ and providing MPI with documentation of the scheduled treatment.
MPI advises all owners and operators of vessels arriving into New Zealand to familiarise themselves with the Guidance Document accompanying the CRMS, and the Frequently Asked Questions fact sheet, available on the MPI website.
Please be aware that all vessel documentation can be subject to verification upon arrival to New Zealand. As such, vessels must carry all biofouling documentation on board, as these may be requested by MPI officers. If, upon verification the documentation provided by the vessel is insufficient to prove compliance with the CRMS, further action may be taken to manage the biosecurity risk. In order to reduce any arrival delays or on-arrival directions for action by MPI relating to biofouling, please ensure that arriving vessels have valid documentation detailing biofouling management actions taken on-board the vessel.
As MPI has been informally requesting biofouling documentation over the last year, has given industry a four year lead-in to comply, and has taken a proactive communication approach regarding these requirements, MPI anticipates industry to take a proactive approach to being aware of vessel arrival requirements before vessels departs for New Zealand. MPI is also likely to take a less favourable approach to vessel operators and their agents that do not inform themselves of all the necessary requirements before entering New Zealand territory.
Please also be aware that there are no approved cleaning operators in New Zealand. Removal of any macrofouling off international and short-stay vessels is an offence under the Biosecurity Act 1993. As the intent of the CRMS is to manage the risk offshore, MPI advises all operators and owners of vessels to conduct regular inspections and proactive hull cleaning before they arrive into New Zealand territorial waters.
Frequently asked questions
What documentation should be carried on board?
Verifiable evidence that one of the three measures has been undertaken, such as:
- Antifouling certificates, including information on antifouling coating (AFC) application date, type of antifouling applied and if it is applied to niche areas.
- Reports from a recent hull and niche area inspection, with photos/video.
- Reports from the most recent cleaning of the hull and niche areas, with photos/video
- Records of contingency planning if a vessel falls out of its operational profile.
- Biofouling Management Plan and record book
o See guidance on what to put in your vessel’s Biofouling Management Plan
The information included within this documentation should be sufficient to show that the vessel has carried out one of the three measures outlined in the CRMS. For example, a vessel may carry a Biofouling Management Plan and Record Book; however, if these documents are audited by MPI and do not show records that biofouling on the vessel has been managed, then the vessel will not meet the requirements.
What will MPI do to verify the accuracy of the information provided to MPI?
Upon arrival, information provided to MPI may be verified. The risk profile of the vessel, and the quality of the documentation carried on board will determine what, if any, further actions are required. Verification will take place through conversations with the operator or person in charge and by conducting verification inspections. This can include checking that the information provided in the Advance Notice of Arrival, and the Master’s Declaration is correct, inspecting records of biofouling management, asking to inspect sea strainers and marine growth prevention systems, and studying the vessel’s voyage history.
Will MPI continue to issue biofouling letters to vessels?
At this stage MPI will no longer issue letters to vessels stating their biofouling risk rating. The purpose of these letters was to inform vessel operators of the upcoming requirements and to help promote best practice hull maintenance. Under the CRMS regime, high risk vessels and a percentage of low and medium risk vessels chosen for verification will be contacted for further information regarding biofouling documentation. If MPI does not contact you within 48 hours of the submission of the vessel’s arrival documentation, no further biofouling information is required at that time.
Please be aware, however, that all vessels are subject to verification upon arrival to New Zealand. As such, vessels should carry all biofouling documentation on board, as these may be requested by MPI inspectors. If, upon verification the documentation provided by the vessel is insufficient to prove compliance with the CRMS, further action may be taken to manage the biosecurity risk.
Vessels that are chosen for verification and cannot prove they are compliant with the biofouling standard (via documentation) may be subject to an MPI-directed dive inspection. MPI will communicate with the agent and vessel Master if a dive inspection is required. If vessels are found non-compliant (there is biofouling on hull that is in breach of the thresholds) they will be directed to either manage the biofouling risk or to leave NZT.
Currently, approved options for managing biofouling or treating biofouling on vessels in NZ are limited to hauling out or dry docking for vessels less than 120 meters at an MPI-approved Transitional Facility (TF). There are currently no haul out, dry docks or other treatment options for vessels larger than 120 meters.
Can you clean your vessel in-water in New Zealand?
Under the Biosecurity Act 1993, all macrofouling (anything other than a slime layer) on international vessels, including the propeller, may not be removed without a Notice of Direction from MPI. There are currently no approved suppliers of in-water cleaning in New Zealand. Therefore, if a commercial vessel arrives and is non-compliant with the CRMS, MPI may either deny entry, restrict the itinerary of the vessel, or direct the vessel to leave within 24 hours of arrival.
Can you clean a slime layer in New Zealand?
In-water cleaning or treatment methods of a slime layer are acceptable only if the contaminant discharges from the activity comply with the standards or requirements set by the relevant authority. Relevant authorities in NZ include MPI, EPA, Regional Councils, Port Authorities and Marina Operators.
We are elated to announce that Port Denarau Marina was officially declared a Port of Entry in the 2017/2018 Fiji Government budget at the end of June.
Port Denarau Marina Ltd is Fiji’s leading marina facility and the busiest commercial port in Fiji. We are recognised by the Marina Industry Association as the International Marina of the Year for four consecutive years, winner of Community Support Initiative by a marina and awarded first Clean and Fish Friendly Marina in the Pacific.
Previously Port Denarau Marina was a sufferance port with exorbitant clearance costs, which was a major deterrent for foreign visitors having to clear into Lautoka. In the past few months, Port Denarau Marina has been busy working together with government agencies to ensure that the processes are in place to ensure a seamless clearance inwards and outwards from Port Denarau Marina for vessels who have overnight bookings with us.
Operation hours for Port of Entry clearance are: Monday to Friday 0800hrs – 1600 hrs
All yachts arriving in Fiji must give the Controller of Customs two days prior notice by completing and forwarding the Advance Notification of Arrival using the C2-C form. Although FRCS is the principal agency, it is practical to send the forms to the following multi-agencies –
Ministry of Health, Biosecurity Authority of Fiji, Department of Immigration via email as per list below:
Fiji Revenue & Customs Services [email protected]
Biosecurity [email protected]
Immigration [email protected]
Ministry of Health [email protected]
Upon reaching pilot station, you will need to contact the Port Control on Channel 14/16 and request for entry into port. If from a High Risk Port vessels are not allowed to enter unless first attended to by Ministry of Health. In the meantime, vessels must hoist and fly the “Q” flag on the mast until cleared by Health or unless you have received a radio pratique from Ministry of Health. Vessels will need to inform Customs of any disembarking crew and reasons for disembarking.
As part of clearance procedures, Fiji Customs request visiting yachts to subscribe to and activate AIS while in Fiji EEZ waters. Non-compliance with this request will see yachts that are not broadcasting to be shifted into their high risk category and appropriate attention paid to them.
Two government officials are only required for outward clearance, making the departure process much easier. The two officials are Immigration and Customs unless otherwise requested. However, an overnight booking at the marina with a prior notice of 48hrs before departure is still required so that officials can schedule accordingly.
After seeking reforms for nearly a decade Port Denarau Marina is perfectly placed to become Fiji’s newest Port of Entry. The infrastructure and systems are in place to accommodate all requirements and will be in an easy position to evolve with changing needs.
We are grateful to the Government of Fiji for recognising Port Denarau Marina as a Port of Entry and for the various agencies in working together with us to ensure that the mechanisms are in place for a smooth operation. These are exciting
times for our marina, the visiting yachts and for Fiji as a yachting destination of choice.
With the steady growth of yacht tourism, Fiji is becoming a yacht and super yacht hub of the South Pacific.
A Marine Industry Survey in 2012 revealed that 662 foreign yachts and super yachts arrived in Fiji last year bringing with them more than 4000 tourists and contribut- ing about $30 million in foreign exchange.
While this is good news for Fiji’s tour- ism industry, the international yachts and super yachts entering Fiji waters also pose biosecurity risk and are closely monitored by the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF). BAF will do all possible to facilitate the passage of yachts into our waters but we also main- tain a high level of vigilance.
All visiting vessels including yachts need to be aware of Fiji’s biosecurity procedures not only to avoid hefty fines and penalties but also to protect our economy, environment and human health from harmful foreign pests and diseases. This is particularly important with regards to live animals, pot plants, meats, fruits and vegetables that are on board the yacht. These items may carry pests and diseases that are not currently present in Fiji and their uncontrolled importation could seriously impact our agricultural sector, economy and environment.
Of great concern to BAF are the unin- spected yachts visiting the remote islands of Fiji. These yachts could have on board biosecurity risk items which they may not be aware of hence increasing the chances of introducing invasive plant or animal species and exotic pests and diseases.
As a result of this, BAF has a surveillance boat- BIOSECURITY1- which conducts sur- veillance and monitoring in the Yasawas and Mamanucas as these are both prime tourist spots for Fiji. Among other things, the sur- veillance boat is used to inspect the incoming yachts to the Mamanucas and Yasawas.
Biosecurity clearance procedures for yachts and pleasure crafts
Once in Fiji waters, the yachts should proceed to the designated quarantine area
The master or captain of the yacht must declare the following:
- the destination seaport in Fiji and the estimated time of arrival of the vessel
- its immediate preceding port or place of call
- the proposed itinerary of the vessel until it leaves Fiji
- the nature and country of origin of its cargo
- the number of passengers and crew
- the presence of any live animal or live plant on the vessel
- the nature of any illness or malady af- fecting any live animal, plant, crew member, passenger or other individuals on board the vessel
- any other matter relevant to facilitating biosecurity landing clearance of the vessel that is specified by BAF
- This declaration must be made at least 24 hours before the estimated time of arrival.
The vessel master is also required to com- plete a Master’s Declaration Form (available on www.biosecurityfiji.com) declaring all biosecurity risk items on board that are either restricted or prohibited.
Items to declare include:
- Foods (tinned/packed), including meat, sausages, salami, ham, poultry, eggs, milk, butter, cheese, honey etc;
- Plants or parts of plants (live or dead) including vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, bulbs, flowers (fresh or dry), mushrooms, straw, bamboo or any other article made of plant materials;
- Animal products including feathers, fur/ skin, shells, hatching eggs.
- Animals, reptiles, fish, birds (or parts thereof), alive or dead, stuffed or mounted;
- Soil or equipment used with animals of any kind or that has come in contact with soil;
- Biological specimens including vaccine cultures, blood or any other biological speci- men; and
The yacht master should also ensure that no garbage containing any animal, plant, animal product or plant product is discharged from the yacht into the sea while the yacht is in Fiji. All garbage generated on the vessel should be placed in a suitable leak-proof con- tainer, with a lid, and the container should
be securely fastened at all times and kept on board the yacht. The garbage can only be removed from the yachts under the directions of a biosecurity officer.
Live animals on yachts
- Cats, dogs and other pet animals cannot be imported into Fiji via yachts.
- In general no animals will be permitted to come ashore in Fiji and must remain on board the vessel at all times while in Fiji’s territorial waters.
- Yachts arriving in Fiji with live animals such as dogs, cats, pet birds, etc are required to pay a bond to BAF as security against
the animal coming ashore while in Fiji’s territorial waters. The bond payment is $FJD $1,500 and is refundable on departure from Fiji if bond conditions are not breached.
- Cats and dogs must also be vaccinated against rabies not more than 12 months and not less than 6 months before arriving in Fiji. One month after the rabies vaccination of the dog, it must be subjected to the Rabies Neutralization Antibody Tire Test (RNATT) with a positive result of no less than 0.5 IU per ml.
- Vaccination certificates and laboratory tests results must be original and made avail- able to biosecurity officers when Biosecurity Boarding Inspections are carried out at the First (1ST) Port of Entry.
- Pet birds (e.g. parrots, finches, canaries etc) on yachts must be healthy and free from the Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease without vaccination. They must be tested free of Newcastle Disease six (6) months prior to arrival in Fiji and also must not have been in the waters of countries with Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease. While in Fiji waters, pet birds must be in locked cages at all times, and the animal must not be brought on shore at any time.
By taking these precautionary measures visitors will enjoy traversing the pristine waters of Fiji without worrying that their pets may be posing a risk to the native fauna, flora, the environment and human health in Fiji.
Biosecurity advice to outer islands
BAF has been advising people especially those on remote islands to keep a look out for yachts not cleared or inspected by the border control agencies and report them to their nearest Police, Health, Customs or BAF office. These yachts would be flying the yel- low quarantine flag.
The vast majority of yacht and super yacht traffic in Fiji do the right thing and abide by our laws as it is in their interest to do so. These mariners are well travelled and familiar with biosecurity procedures in the Pacific and elsewhere in the world and with their help and that of our communities, Fiji’s pristine environment will be protected from harmful pests and diseases.
For more information on this please contact BAF on 3312512 or e-mail [email protected] biosecurityfiji.com.