Foreign-flagged ships allowed to cruise in the South Pacific under new rules

Foreign-flagged ships allowed to cruise in the South Pacific under new rules

The New Zealand Marine Industry Association (NZ Marine) has announced that updated yachting rules will finally come into force from August. The new rules were agreed by the four major yachting hubs in the South Pacific two years ago, but because of border closures due to Covid-19, they could not be implemented until 2022.

The new rules will allow foreign-flagged superyachts to cruise in each country’s waters for at least two years on a permanent basis under the new Temporary Entry Regulations (TIE). Australia, Fiji, French Polynesia and New Zealand have agreed to introduce the new TIE rules, which will take effect after the final relaxation of pandemic restrictions in the next few weeks.

All four countries are also open to chartering foreign-flagged vessels, with Tahiti announcing an extension of the cruise to 60 months. Meanwhile, yachts visiting Australia can also apply for extensions after two years.

“Although technically different countries agreed periods (TIE) and charters two years ago, due to the Covid lockout, it is only from August 2022 that visiting yachts can call on the South Pacific using the new relaxed longer stay and charter rules in all four countries,” explained Peter Busfield, CEO of NZ Marine.

Documentation prepared by NZ Marine indicates that a visiting yacht is now entitled to remain in New Zealand for up to 24 months without having to be formally imported into New Zealand – visitors only need to apply for a TIE certificate at New Zealand Customs prior to arrival.

Visits to superyachts over 500 GT will also require the services of a pilot when visiting New Zealand ports on a TIE certificate. Pilotage exemption / accreditation can be obtained when visiting Auckland.

Any goods, equipment and services purchased for yachts in the country during the TIE period are exempt from tax, including the cost of berthing, repairs or refit work. The crew of a yacht also does not have to pay tax unless they work for a New Zealand resident or company and are not in the country for more than 365 days in any two-year period.

The move marks a positive step for the South Pacific yachting industry. Superyachts are available in all four countries and New Zealand offers a repair facility that allows for warranty repairs, comprehensive rebuilds or scheduled maintenance to facilitate multiple seasons in the region.

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