Access Restrictions and Obligations for yachts in St Helena waters

This notice addresses access to St Helena’s waters by visiting yachts. There has been differing speculation in recent days.

St Helena is a proud seafaring nation but in these exceptional times restrictions need to impose limits on the access to St Helena by sea. The arrangements in place are intended to strike a workable balance between honouring the needs of ocean-going seafarers and ensuring our community is protected from the COVID-19 virus.

Being a remote island 700 miles or more from another seaport there are international obligations to mariners, such as those described in the SOLAS convention, we should and must honour. This is no different to what we would expect others to do if it were St Helenian seafarers requiring support after a time at sea.

International obligations to protect life include the resupply of water, provisions and fuel; medical attention for sickness or injury; mechanical difficulties and repairs; vessel in distress; and weather-related safety.

Following an IEG meeting today, Saturday 28 March 2020, agreed measures are:

  • All yachts arriving at St Helena will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine period from the date of arrival in James Bay. This also applies to recent arrivals
  • The crews on any yachts may remain in St Helena waters until they are ready to depart for their next destination
  • Within the 14-day quarantine period no landing of crew on St Helena will be permitted, unless there is an on-board emergency
  • Before Pratique (medical clearance) is granted, all yachts must fly a yellow flag to indicate that they have not received official clearance from Port and Port Health Authority. This is standard industry practice  
  • Documents that would be expected to be presented for inspection include:
    • Official clearance papers from last port of departure
    • A satisfactorily completed Harbourmaster’s declaration
    • A satisfactorily completed and checked health declaration
    • A satisfactorily completed and checked customs declaration
    • Temperature measurement on or after the fourteenth day to ensure no elevated body temperature
  • After the 14-day quarantine period all crew will be required to complete the health screening process. The Harbourmaster with support from a medical ‘proper officer’ then has the authority to give a final clearance to land.

We have discouraged any yachts that are now in foreign ports and may be planning to travel to St Helena from setting sail for this destination. Notices to this effect have been posted on yachting websites and through social media. SHG is continuing to contact yacht clubs and ports in South Africa and other countries to state this position.


28 March 2020

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470