The government of Hong Kong has agreed in principle, to relax restrictions on private yachts which visit the region. although a formal agreement has yet to be reached.
Several of the Asia Pacific Superyacht Association’s (APSA) members came together to work with the Hong Kong government to relax restrictions, including Expat Marine Insurance, Camper & Nicholsons Marinas, Benetti Asia and two private superyacht owners.
Currently, foreign superyachts which visit Hong Kong are not able to navigate in Hong Kong waters, unless they have qualified for a cruising licence (according to Section 8 of the Merchant Shipping Regulation). However, a yacht must be going in for a repair, racing in Hong Kong or changing its berth in order to qualify for a licence.
Nigel Beatty, chairman of APSA commented, “Traditionally there has been no real provision for private yachts in Hong Kong. There has been no distinction between foreign vessels entering Hong Kong, whether it is a large merchant ship or a superyacht, and it is a shame because there are some beautiful places to cruise, especially in the Northern territories.”
According to reports from Superyacht News, the government has agreed to allow visiting superyachts to obtain cruising licences with conditions including submitting a pre-arrival notification for the vessel; appointing a local agent with legal responsibility for the vessel; not engaging in charter unless an agreement has been made before the vessel’s visit; and possessing recognised navigational qualifications.
The Hong Kong Immigration Department has also applied new measures for superyacht crew, including allowing crew who require visas to remain in Hong Kong until their vessel leaves, with the conditions that they are visiting purely for work purposes and that they are abiding by normal mmigration requirements.