20.04.2020

COVID-19: Yachting update

The Covid-19 pandemic has already had a significant impact on the marine industry.  In this briefing, we summarise the current situation for the yachting sector in New Zealand and the Pacific.

New Zealand 

Following the implementation of Level 4 restrictions, we are aware of businesses facing issues with cancellation of charters, repatriation of crew, cancellation or suspension of sale and purchase agreements, and delays in completing build, refit, repair or maintenance projects.  Businesses have also been re-assessing their business development and sponsorship commitments for future events. 

In each case, contract terms will need to be carefully reviewed.  Contracts may include terms allowing suspension of performance or even termination of contracts. 

Businesses with business interruption insurance policies should check with their brokers whether these might respond in the present circumstances.

We have prepared a number of updates and briefings to help companies navigate these and other issues (including employment, solvency and property), as well as specific advice for yacht owners

Our team is able to assist and to provide relevant guidance, whether you need advice or are facing a dispute with your contractor, supplier, customer or employees.

Navigation in New Zealand and the Pacific

At the time that travel restrictions began to be implemented in New Zealand and across the Pacific, a number of yachts were already visiting or were on their way to or from the region.  

The immigration and quarantine position in each country is different and is changing on a regular basis.  Our friends at the New Zealand Marine Industry Association and Albatross PR are providing excellent updates on the status across the region at:

https://www.albatrosspr.com/ 

http://nzmarine.nzmarine.nz/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2020/03/COVID-19-Information-relating-to-the-visitation-of-small-craft-and-superyachts.pdf

More information on the position in New Zealand can also be found on Immigration New Zealand’s website:

www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/covid-19/border-closures-and-exceptions

Level 3 and beyond?

Today the government will clarify when Level 4 restrictions will lift and what restrictions will be in place for Level 3 and beyond.  This situation will have further consequences for visiting pleasure craft, superyachts and their crew.  We will provide an update when that clarification is issued. 

Yachting New Zealand also provides ongoing guidance at:

https://www.yachtingnz.org.nz/clubs/covid-19-information

Realistically there are unlikely to be significant changes in the short term.  The expectation is that border restrictions are likely to remain in place for some time.

At this stage, there has been no announcement regarding the America’s Cup to be held in Auckland next year.  The Prada Cup (Challenger series) is due to start in January 2021 and the 36th America’s Cup Match in March 2021.   The programme for this event has already been affected:

  • Already two of the three AC75 preliminary races (the America’s Cup world series) have been cancelled due to COVID-19: Sardegna (23-26 April 2020) and Portsmouth (4-7 June 2020).  The third event is scheduled to be in Auckland at the end of December 2020.
  • The construction of the boats that will be competing in Auckland could be delayed;
  • The construction of infrastructures for the event is likely to be delayed; and
  • It is unsure when the challengers’ teams will be allowed to enter NZ.

For more information in this respect, refer to the following webpages:

https://www.nzmarine.com/events/

https://emirates-team-new-zealand.americascup.com/

If you have any questions about COVID-19 and the issues facing the yachting sector , please get in touch with our marine team or your usual contact at Hesketh Henry.

Disclaimer:  The information contained in this article is current at the date of publishing and is of a general nature.  It should be used as a guide only and not as a substitute for obtaining legal advice.  Specific legal advice should be sought where required.

 

 

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Contact the expert team at Hesketh Henry.
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Media contact - Kerry Browne
Please contact Kerry with any media enquiries and with any questions related to marketing or sponsorships on +64 9 375 8747 or via email.

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