October 28, 2021

Charterer Arrival Process Fiji: VIP Blue Lanes Initiative

Fiji is now open for owners and charterers to cruise the islands, perform all watersports and visit uninhabited islands during the two week quarantine period. Additionally as a benefit to charterers the government has reduced charter tax from 10% to just 5%.

Since the launch of the innovative Blue Lane Initiative the Fijian government has opened their shores for superyachts to enter Fiji, carry out crew changes and most importantly allow owners and charterers to enjoy cruising Fiji aboard their yachts.

Our friends at Yacht Help Fiji have provided the below information on the process.

The process below allows Superyacht owners or charterers to enter Fiji and board their yachts directly. They can then begin cruising Fiji whilst in Quarantine.

Prior to Entry your broker and yacht captain must collect and submit to the vessel agent in Fiji the following information:

  1. Superyachts arrival and departure dates.
  2. Private or commercial flight itinerary. (Guests should remain in transit for the entire trip to Fiji).
  3. The number of guests and copies of passports.
  4. Superyachts proposed itinerary in Fiji.
  5. Once submitted to Fiji’s Covid Risk Mitigation Taskforce (CRMT) the processing time is 10 days but its best allow more time.

Cruising in Quarantine

The CRMT will issue a Conditional Approval to Depart for Fiji, this will also include approval for the private or commercial flight arrangements.

Once approval is issued the owner/charterers will need to take a covid test within 72 hours prior of departure for Fiji.

On arrival in Fiji guests will be escorted directly to the yacht, which can then commence cruising on its itinerary.

The yacht can cruise anywhere in Fiji and all watersports i.e. diving, kiting, snorkeling are permitted as are beach visits, walks or hikes. No village visits will be possible whilst cruising within the 14-day quarantine period. Note guests do not need to cruise for the full 14 days, this is just the amount of time before full village visits etc are allowed.

The Fiji government has stated that for owners/charterers wishing to cruise Fiji whilst in quarantine that the hiring of a chase boat is no longer compulsory. However, there will need to be some provision put in place to ensure that no contact is made with the local population and some monitoring should be provided using one or a combination of the methods below:-

  1. Placing one Naval personnel onboard the yacht for the proposed cruise.
  2. Providing an itinerary showing the intended anchorage for each day/night. This would be monitored on AIS by the Navy. A provision would have to be allowed for the Navy to spot check periodically i.e. by the use of a water taxi, seaplane or another method.
  3. For yachts wishing to cruise the nearby Mamanuca and Yasawa islands, the spot check monitoring would be easy and inexpensive.
  4. For yachts going further afield spot-check monitoring gets more expensive
  5. however if there is more than one yacht cruising at the same time costs could
  6. be shared.
  7. The government is willing to consider any practical proposition that ensures Fiji's covid safety.

All of the above methods are approved on a case by case basis.

The government has now moved to a position of trusting professionally operated superyachts and we look forward to further enhancing this situation to allow superyachts cruise Fiji in quarantine without impediment.

What do the Captains say?

“The guest arrival at the airport and transport to the yacht was a painless experience and from there the trip was the same as if it was any other year.
We also submitted a broad, pre-planned itinerary prior to the trip which gave us plenty of scope and we were allowed to adjust this for weather.
The idea (of monitoring the cruise with a chase boat or AIS or an official aboard) is good and it worked well in practice to ensure that no yachts, while cruising in quarantine, have any accidental interactions with locals during the 14 day quarantine period, while still ensuring the guests have the best possible trip with flexibility”.

- Captain Trent Jones M.Y. Maria (67M)

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