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Old 19-03-2020, 06:23   #1
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Help - where to land in the S Pacific March 2020?

I'm after a bit of advice please. I know very little about boats / sailing, but my parents are currently in the middle of the pacific on their 36' sailing yacht. The plan was (/is) for them to sail from Galapagos to French Polynesia. They're approximately half way through this trip which is expected to take 22 days. They have a sat phone so there is very limited communication, but they are fine and making progress. I'm currently filling them in with all the news re: Coronavirus. They're British, can speak English and French but v limited Spanish and are in good health. They'll need to stop somewhere for a rest and resupply of food and ideally fuel.

Yesterday, French Polynesia closed borders and today Australia and NZ (inc Cook Islands) have done the same. It seems
Pitcairn is British Territory so I would guess they would be allowed to stop there but with only 50 ish inhabitants it's probably not a useful place to stop (or is it?).
Fiji's borders currently remain open to anyone except those who have travelled from Europe / China (etc) in the last 14 days (this would not apply)

Obviously, they would be able to prove that they have not been in contact with anyone for >14 days and have therefore self-isolated. For what it's worth, they're also taking a daily temperature log to 'prove' they haven't been unwell (they haven't).

So I guess the question is, where should I be advising them to head for? Continue with plan a) and head for French Polynesia? I have no idea where they will be able to go after that. The original plan was to get to Australia but that seems unlikely now.

Links (mainly for my benefit):
https://www.fiji.gov.fj/Media-Centre...RST-COVID-19-C

https://www.presidence.pf/

https://covid19.govt.nz/latest-updat...order-closure/

https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/news-...el-coronavirus
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Old 19-03-2020, 15:18   #2
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Re: Help - where to land in the S Pacific March 2020?

It is going to be very tricky for them. I would suggest having them contact the British Embassy in Papeete, and plan to try to make arrangements to provision them for the long haul into Australia from there. If they have been re-called, you'll have to work at it from your end, and you may need a power of attorney to do so. You may need help to set that up, with Docu-Sign.

The problem, of course, is that they will have to re-provision, and there are ways and ways of applying for Immigration exceptions. If they follow the plan suggested above, their voyages can be checked by Customs & Immigration along the way, shiptrack.org can show their positions, and if they document their daily positions in their deck log, that is another source of verification. They'll have to be able to document that they have had no contact--have been self quarantined.

They will probably have to formally seek asylum in Australia, and this will require an Immigration lawyer, at this time. The online processes -- well, friends of ours who wanted to extend their visa were told by an Immi officer it was "naive" to think that would work. Your parents will need an immigration lawyer.

I hope you and they can work it out, but everything is so up in the air during the ramping up phase of the pandemic, it is hard to predict how the rest of the situation will evolve.

If they have ham radio capability, your folks could set up radio schedules to keep track of how things are going in the Islands. ...Oz is an island.

The word in the last few days has been that for French Polynesia, boats now at sea will have to stay at the first Island they call at. Papeete has the best services. It would be a shame to miss the Marquesas and Tuamotus, but they are not where I would choose to spend the rest of my days.

Trying to sneak could lead to punishment including loss of boat and jail. All the inhabited islands have contact with Papeete. They are not isolated as they were prior to the second world war.

Here is a link to the Australian Broadcasting Company news:
https://www.abc.net.au/news/justin/


Good luck with it, mate, it is a tough one for everyone, right now. Good luck always helps.

Ann
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Old 19-03-2020, 16:06   #3
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Re: Help - where to land in the S Pacific March 2020?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
It is going to be very tricky for them. I would suggest having them contact the British Embassy in Papeete, and plan to try to make arrangements to provision them for the long haul into Australia from there. If they have been re-called, you'll have to work at it from your end, and you may need a power of attorney to do so. You may need help to set that up, with Docu-Sign.

The problem, of course, is that they will have to re-provision, and there are ways and ways of applying for Immigration exceptions. If they follow the plan suggested above, their voyages can be checked by Customs & Immigration along the way, shiptrack.org can show their positions, and if they document their daily positions in their deck log, that is another source of verification. They'll have to be able to document that they have had no contact--have been self quarantined.

They will probably have to formally seek asylum in Australia, and this will require an Immigration lawyer, at this time. The online processes -- well, friends of ours who wanted to extend their visa were told by an Immi officer it was "naive" to think that would work. Your parents will need an immigration lawyer.

I hope you and they can work it out, but everything is so up in the air during the ramping up phase of the pandemic, it is hard to predict how the rest of the situation will evolve.

If they have ham radio capability, your folks could set up radio schedules to keep track of how things are going in the Islands. ...Oz is an island.

The word in the last few days has been that for French Polynesia, boats now at sea will have to stay at the first Island they call at. Papeete has the best services. It would be a shame to miss the Marquesas and Tuamotus, but they are not where I would choose to spend the rest of my days.

Trying to sneak could lead to punishment including loss of boat and jail. All the inhabited islands have contact with Papeete. They are not isolated as they were prior to the second world war.

Here is a link to the Australian Broadcasting Company news:
https://www.abc.net.au/news/justin/


Good luck with it, mate, it is a tough one for everyone, right now. Good luck always helps.

Ann
Typical of Ann to give perfect advice, and this in an imperfect situation. Of issue is that during a pandemic, consulates and embassies can have their travel restricted and / or be closed and personnel can be repatriated to the UK, so you might find that there isn't anyone there to help.

Contact information for the British Consulate in Papeete, Tahiti
French Polynesia

PHONE LOCAL: 706.382
INTERNATIONAL: +689.706.382
FAX LOCAL: 420.050
INTERNATIONAL: +689.420.050
WEB SITE http://ukinfrance.fco.gov.uk


Of keen issue that they will likely not be provided free pratique and would be quarantined on board when they arrive and should definitely plan to head to Papeete and not one of the outer islands as they likely will be required to Shelter in Place, remaining on board and not be permitted to depart the harbor to progress to another isle. The British Consulate may be able to provide guidance for reprovisioning services to their at anchored boat. I would expect that they would not be allowed to moor at a dock as it is customary to preclude any interaction with persons on the land.

Copied from the UK Foreign Office - How to deal with a crisis overseas website. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-d...risis-overseas

"during a pandemic we will, as far as possible, continue to provide a consular service for British nationals resident or travelling overseas through our network of embassies, high commissions or consulates. This may be limited, depending on the scale and severity of the situation. In extreme cases we may have to close our embassies, high commissions or consulates. We won’t be able to repatriate British nationals during a pandemic."

So not a good time to be attempting travel anywhere. How many miles to circumnavigate back to the UK, could get their before Brexit December 31?

Wishing Godspeed.
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Old 19-03-2020, 16:07   #4
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Re: Help - where to land in the S Pacific March 2020?

We're in somewhat uncharted territory.

For me, the guiding principle would be to arrive someplace with a decent all-weather anchorage and reasonable access to basic supplies, as there is a good chance they may be stuck for a while.

Using that basis, Pitcairn and Easter are out. In the Marquesas I would probably vote for Nuku Hiva over the others as there is more chance at supplies and more room in the anchorage than at Atuona. It would mean a beat up to Hiva Oa or Fatu Hiva if they got a chance to sail again, but that would be the trade-off.

Personally I'd probably prefer to be stuck in the Tuamotus, someplace like Makemo or Fakarava - enough for basic supplies but not too large, and not so bad places to be stuck.

I think Ann is right, they are almost going to have to accept boats that have been at sea, but I'm sure every immigration officer will have a distinct opinion. If you can message them I'd see what thoughts they had, then try and contact the local Gendarmerie (if you have someone who can speak French) where they intend to arrive and try and make arrangements in advance.

If the French are truly not hospitable, and the Cooks and Tonga are the same then it is a long road to Fiji, but quite doable. Many different choices there for landing/staying with supplies and good protection.

Another option may be American Samoa, but that would probably be a distant choice for me.
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Old 19-03-2020, 16:39   #5
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Re: Help - where to land in the S Pacific March 2020?

There is a FB south Pacific puddle jump group all over this right now. It's believed currently that all boats that underway will not be turned away from the Marquesas. However, inter island travel is not being allowed. I would guess if one case is found in Marquesas, they will lock it down. The harbors are going to be very jammed. The one northern port has a large bay, but that would be very full with the potential influx. And the people that live there also need to be able to purchase the limited food available in the stores.
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Old 19-03-2020, 16:59   #6
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Re: Help - where to land in the S Pacific March 2020?

Noonsite has useful guidance and daily updates.

https://www.noonsite.com/place/frenc...curity-section

BioSecurity
COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS RESTRICTIONS:

19 March, 2020:

The French Polynesia High Commissioner announced on 18 March that all non-residents will be refused access to the territory. According to his announcement, this currently applies to air passengers. Yachts were not specified.

Déclaration du Haut-commissaire et du Président de la Polynésie française / 2020 / Communiqués de presse / Actualités / Accueil - Les services de l'État en Polynesie française


At this time yachts can clear into the Marquesas and visit Tahiti to refuel and provision before departure, no cruising between islands is permitted.

The situation is very fluid and is likely to change soon.

18 March 2020:

French Polynesia – Progressive Stand for Yachts arrivals, good news for cruisers!
In reaction to the COVID-19 situation, arrival procedures for yachts entering French Polynesia have been reviewed. Authorities it seems have now had a chance to review the previously reported requirement for arriving yachts to undergo a 14-day quarantine.

Sailors arriving with no symptoms after spending extended passage times at sea have effectively self quarantined.

All arrivals however need to complete the following form prior to arrival:
DPAM FICHE PAR NAVIRE https://www.sailsouthpacific.com/ass...0SOOzufU8rAnTU

JRCC Papeete issued the following mandate today:
“Due to international health situation, before arriving ashore or anchoring in French Polynesia, all merchant or pleasure ships must report to JRCC (by radio, phone, email or satellite communication) any person on board, crew, passenger, with symptoms of suspected fever and cough. This person must be isolated from the other people on board. JRCC Tahiti will establish a medical radio consultation.

Information from Sail South Pacific.

18 March 2020:

At this time the new policy for all arriving yachts is that their crews will be required to ‘self quarantine’ aboard their boats for 14 days. Due to the territory-wide restrictions on inter-island travel, arriving boats will be required to stay put at their clearance port — Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa are the two options — until their 14-day isolation is finished.

While it is recommend to make initial landfall at Hiva Oa due to its upwind location, Nuku Hiva is a much larger and more comfortable anchorage, and the surrounding town is the largest and best supplied in the Marquesas.

For vessels already at sea and those soon to depart, if you arrive with any crew who are showing signs of possible COVID-19 infection, such as coughing, shortness of breath, fever, and sore throat, call the JRCC for health assistance by dialing 16JRCC from any locally operating phone (or via VHF Channel 16).

Information passed from the Pacific Puddle Jump organisers.

17 March 2020:

In brief: 14 day quarantine required, but sea time does count.

The new COVID-19 procedures have been adapted for yachts where time at sea will count towards the quarantine period – see here for more info.
Coronavirus : Procédure adaptée pour les navires / Accueil - Les services de l'État en Polynesie française

The High Commissioner and the President of Polynesia announced at 1300 on Monday 16 March, in a televised press conference, that the following measures will be put into effect to fight against the spread of COVID-19:

All persons arriving in Polynesia are subject to a 14 day quarantine period, in their domicile, hotel, boat etc.
Inter-Island travel is only allowed for work or family emergencies or for family members returning home.
At of the end of the school day Wednesday (18 March), the schools will be closed.
Restaurants are required to limit their capacities to 50% of the normal and leave more space between the clientele.
No Public gatherings are allowed – churches, plays, sporting events, etc.
The other measures which were put into place recently still apply.
It was also stressed in the same press conference that there are new cases of COVID-19 in Polynesia.

Information passed on by Yacht Services Nuku Hiva.

9 March 2020:

French Polynesia will require all travelers – arriving by plane or cruise ship- regardless of nationality, to provide a medical certificate of clean health before entering the country. The certificate must be dated within five days of the last point of departure. Any crew members arriving into French Polynesia to join a vessel or owners returning to their vessels will need to ensure they observe this requirement.

This measure will be in place until March 31, when the government will re-evaluate the situation and potentially extend the requirement to a later date. At that point it may become a requirement for crew arriving on yachts to arrive with a medical certificate of clean health, so best come prepared.

A health control questionnaire is also being given to all passengers arriving in Polynesia either by air or sea, in which they must give their address for the following 14 days and their contact details.

For updates see the Ministry of Health website. https://www.service-public.pf/dsp/covid-19/
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Old 19-03-2020, 18:42   #7
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Re: Help - where to land in the S Pacific March 2020?

CF members are really coming through on this crisis.

My hat’s off to Ann (JPA Cate ) and Montanan.

Well done, well done indeed.
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Old 19-03-2020, 19:13   #8
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Re: Help - where to land in the S Pacific March 2020?

Australia
From 9 p.m. on March 20, Australia will no longer allow entry to non-Australian citizens or residents, unless they are direct family members of Australians
, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Wednesday.
He added that people with travel plans to Australia should use these next 24 hours to make alternative arrangements.
Australians overseas can still return to the country, but will be subject to a 14-day isolation upon arrival.
On March 18, Morrison declared a "human biosecurity emergency" and announced new restrictions, including an upgraded travel advice to Level 4 -- meaning "do not travel." He added that this travel restriction is because the biggest risk comes from imported cases -- "Australians returning from overseas."
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Old 19-03-2020, 19:19   #9
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Re: Help - where to land in the S Pacific March 2020?

Gilligan's Island might be a good place to put in for three years, if it still exists after having been overrun by the tsunami, years ago.

The SS Minnow came upon it after having departed Honolulu for a three hour cruise but little ship got tossed about in a storm. The isle is located somewhere in the South Pacific. From old videos, it looks pleasant enough. The US Coast Guard came to the rescue of the Skipper, the First Mate and the five passengers, perhaps the USCG could provide coordinates and way points.
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Old 19-03-2020, 19:41   #10
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Re: Help - where to land in the S Pacific March 2020?

I’m not sure whether to feel lucky or not.

I had been planning to leave the west coast of Mexico on this year’s Puddle Jump, assuming I had found a suitable, comely companion(s). Instead I had to return to the US for medical reasons mid-January.

My kids might have been contacting CF on my behalf on this exact topic.

I think I’d rather be on Integrity rather than at home in the mountains of northern Utah.
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Old 19-03-2020, 20:35   #11
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Re: Help - where to land in the S Pacific March 2020?

If French Polynesia isn't an option, the closest diversion is Kiritimati Island. This official Facebook page suggests as of two days ago, sea time counts for quarantine. https://m.facebook.com/info.mhms.gov.ki
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Old 19-03-2020, 21:26   #12
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Re: Help - where to land in the S Pacific March 2020?

The latest update is that you can check-in at the Marquesas, they will allow you to provision and refuel and then it's onto Tahiti - where they will put your boat on a mooring and you will have to fly back to your home country(!)
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Old 19-03-2020, 21:47   #13
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Re: Help - where to land in the S Pacific March 2020?

Have them make landfall at Nuka Hiva, not Hiva Oa. It is a far easier place anchor and spend time. No interisland movement is allowed in French Polynesia now. So wheteever tbey land they must stay put. They will need to quarantine on there boat when they arrive. I suggest you engage the service of the agent Kevin prior to their arrival. Contact info
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Old 19-03-2020, 22:22   #14
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Re: Help - where to land in the S Pacific March 2020?

How much food and fuel do they have? Could Hawaii be an option?
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Old 19-03-2020, 23:22   #15
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Re: Help - where to land in the S Pacific March 2020?

Hello Superficial,

Your folks will not be able to put the boat on a mooring in Tahiti and be re-patriated. The Brits have already said they cannot re-patriate people caught out.

Truly, I think you should pay close attention to Montanan's fleshing out of what I suggested. I think they could work out provisioning in Papeete, and progress on towards for Australia, for asylum.

However, we are in the rapid expansion phase of the epidemic, and your folks should expect doors shutting everywhere. American Samoa would not be a good option for British cruisers. The anchorage is filthy, and poor holding in bad weather. Furthermore, they are enough off the beaten path for normal provisioning to be very questionable.

You should prepare your parents: it is possible only the very most basic provisioning foods may be available. Think lentils, beans, rice, some tinned meats; some freshies, they should try for at least one pomplemousse--the very best grapefruit in the world, in my estimation, but just whatever's in season, and it will be a blessing.

I would expect something could be worked out diplomatically between England and Oz, but your folks should be prepared to feel unwanted, and not particularly respected, and above all, to be flexible and roll with the punches. The immigration lawyer may be essential, they understand how to take the cruiser out of the "normal immigrant population" and make their case different (and acceptable) to the Immigration hierarchy.

I know I'm an internet unknown to you, but I am a long term cruiser (over 30 yrs), and been hanging out in the South Pacific eddy for a long time.

Ann
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