Hong Kong relaxes restrictions on visiting superyachts

Government has agreed in principle to make it easier for yachts to obtain cruising licenses

Hong Kong relaxes restrictions on visiting superyachts

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

The negotiations between the Asia Pacific Superyacht Association (APSA) and the government of Hong Kong have borne fruit, as the government has agreed in principle to relax its restrictions on private yachts visiting the region.

The APSA is composed of Expat Marine Insurance, Lodestone Yachts, Anglo Easter Ship Management, Camper & Nicholsons Marinas, Benetti Asia, and two private superyacht owners. 

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Present rules, according to Section 8 of the Merchant Shipping Regulation, mean foreign-owned superyachts sailing to Hong Kong are unable to enter its territorial waters unless they have a cruising license. Qualifying for a cruising license is only possible if the vessel is entering a shipyard for repairs, in Hong Kong to participate in a race, or changing its berthing. Yachts are also required to have third-party risk insurance covering at least HKD5 million (US$644,500).

“Traditionally there has been no real provision for private yachts in Hong Kong,” Nigel Beatty, APSA chairman, told Superyacht News. “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.”

The new agreed-upon conditions for granting superyachts cruising licenses include submitting a pre-arrival notification, having a local agent, and having a third-party risk insurance policy.

The Hong Kong Immigration Department has also simplified regulations for superyacht’s crew. Individuals who need visas are now able to remain in Hong Kong until their vessel leaves, provided that working on the yacht is the only reason for the visit and they submit the relevant immigration requirements.

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