10 Travel Advisories Crew Need to Know About
16 March 2018By Hillary Hoffower
While it’s likely you’ll run into no serious issues whileadventuring the world, there’s always the risk of a safety incident — somethingcould happen anywhere. It’s best to be cautious and aware of surroundings nomatter where you go. But with increasing terrorism threats lurking across theglobe, the occurrence of natural disasters, and areas of crime or civil unrest,there are some places that warrant more heightened caution than others.
On January 10, 2018, the U.S.Department of State unveiled a new advisory system which makes travelrecommendations by ranking locations on a scale of 1 to 4 with additional riskindicators such as crime, health, natural disaster:
Level 1) Exercise normal precautions
Level 2) Exercise increased caution
Level 3) Reconsider travel
Level 4) Do not travel
“To stay informed, connected, and safe, we suggest enrollingin the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs STEP program, and tofollow them on both Twitter and Facebook,” suggests Julia Russell, marketingmanager at ISS GMT, adding that you shouldactivate the new Twitter alerts for real-time updates.
But they’re not the only ones with an organized traveladvisory system — we consulted the AustralianGovernment and Governmentof the United Kingdom in addition to the U.S. Department of State regardingtravel warning and advice for some of the top places crew are likely to be inor visit. Here’s what you need to know.
British Virgin Islands
On January 10, the U.S.Department of State issued a Level 3 travel advisory for the BVIs due tothe aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. “Some roads are impassable or theroad surfaces have been washed away,” reads the Governmentof the United Kingdom. “As more stores reopen, access to medical supplies,food and water is returning to normal. Power supplies have been badly affected.Large areas of Tortola, other islands, and most homes, remain without power orwater.”
Mobile networks and coverage also remain patchy. However,the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport in Tortola is open to commercialflights between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., and most sea ports are open with some ferryservices resuming operations. If you’re heading there to assist with reliefefforts, make sure to do your research beforehand on what to expect and whichareas may be worse than others so you can prepare accordingly.
Other places under travel advisories due to hurricaneaftermath include Puerto Rico and Dominica.
The U.S.Department of State currently has a Level 2 advisory out for The Bahamasdue to crime — burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assault are common, evenduring daylight hours and in tourist areas. On March 7, the U.S. Embassy inNassau sent out an alert after a U.S. citizen was assaulted during earlyevening hours while jogging on West Bay Street just west of Goodman’s Bay Park.
Similarly, the AustralianGovernment advises exercising a high degree of caution, citing an increaseof serious crime in Nassau, New Providence and Freeport, Grand Bahama.
“Most visits to South Africa are trouble-free, but youshould take sensible precautions to protect your safety,” reads the Government of theUnited Kingdom. “Crime increases in areas where large crowds gather, so beparticularly vigilant if you’re attending sporting or other events that attractlarge numbers.”
TheAustralian Government and U.S.Department of State both have advisories out for the country, recommendingexercising increased caution due to the high levels of crime. Armed robbery,rape, carjacking, mugging, and “smash-and-grab” attacks on vehicles are common,reports the U.S. Department of State, with a higher risk of crime in centralbusiness districts of major cities after dark. Protest marches and strike relateddemonstrations are also frequent in South Africa, which can occur withoutnotice and turn violent.
The Western Cape is also experiencing a severe drought, withshortages in Cape Town, which has restricted household water use to 50 litersper person per day. Make sure you follow the advice of local authorities andcomply with water restrictions.
Turks and Caicos
TheGovernment of the United Kingdom and the U.S.Department of State have both noted an increase in serious robberies andarmed robberies, with the U.S. Department of State issuing a Level 2 warning. Avoidwalking alone at night and carrying large amounts of cash and valuables.Safeguard your possessions, and if you’re a U.K. citizen, take particular careof your passport as it can’t be replaced locally.
Trinidad and Tobago
On February 8, Trinidad and Tobago authorities arrestedindividuals who planned to carry out attacks against Carnival. Due to terrorismand high levels of crime, the AustralianGovernment and U.S.Department of State have both issued warnings to exercise a high degree ofcaution. A significant portion of violent crime is gang-related — gangactivity, such as narcotics trafficking, is common.
The U.S. Department of State specifically advises no travelto Laventille, Beetham, Sea Lots, Cocorite, and the interior of Queen’s ParkSavannah in the Port of Spain, where tourists have been robbed at gunpoint.Beaches aren’t safe after twilight — criminals have targeted both popular andisolated beaches.
Petty crime is also common, and be aware of yoursurroundings when traveling to and from Piarco Airport — the AustralianGovernment has reported incidents of violent theft by gangs who follow carstraveling from the airport and attack their victims upon reaching their destinations.
Due to the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, the AustralianGovernment encourages victims of violent crime, especially rape, to seekimmediate medical assistance.
Climbing Mount Everest may be on the bucket list for manycrew, but if you plan to check it off this year, make sure to exerciseincreased caution in Nepal. As Nepal transitions to a new government after the2017 elections, there is a potential for isolated political violence in 2018,according to the U.S.State Department, who issued a Level 2 warning for the country. Don’t trekalone, and avoid demonstrations and crowds.
On March 16, the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu issued asecurity alert regarding a security threat against the Chandragiri HillsCable Car attraction in Thankrot.
While the AustralianGovernment suggests exercising normal safety precautions for most of theMaldives, all three governments advise practicing caution in Male Island due topolitical protests and demonstrations. The Maldives government extended a Stateof Emergency on February 20 because of such. There is the possibility of civilunrest and terrorism, the latter of which may occur on remote islands,according to the U.S.State Department, which advises staying alert in locations frequented byWesterners. There has also been an increase in knife crime.
Papua New Guinea
Both the U.S.Department of State and the AustralianGovernment have warnings out in Papua New Guinea due to the aftermath of arecent 7.5 magnitude earthquake in the Southern Highlands and Heja Provinces. OnMarch 8, the Australian Government reported that strong aftershocks andlandslides are still possible. If you’re heading to the island to help withrelief efforts, make sure you research the affected area beforehand and followthe instructions of local authorities.
There’s also civil unrest in areas near the Panguna mine inBougainville, which has led to violent deaths and injuries. “Localtensions and tribal disputes are common throughout PNG and can quickly escalateinto violent clashes,” states the Australian Government. “Clashes canspark increased lawlessness, including opportunistic crime and property damage.”
There is also a high level of serious crime and carjacking,particularly in Port Moresby and Lae, reports the Government ofthe United Kingdom.
“Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in France,”states the Governmentof the United Kingdom. “Due to ongoing threats to France byIslamist terrorist groups, and recent French military intervention againstDaesh (formerly referred to as ISIL), the French government has warned thepublic to be especially vigilant and has reinforced its security measures.”
TheAustralian Government seconds this, stating that that there is a highthreat of terrorist attack, and the U.S.State Department has issued a Level 2 advisory. Exercise caution aroundlocations known to be possible terrorist targets, tourist locations, places ofworship, transportation hubs, airports, sporting and cultural events, and more.
France isn’t the only European country under the U.S. StateDepartment’s travel advisory due to terrorism — you should also proceed withincreased caution in Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Spain.
There are high levels of crime in Brazil’s major cities, particularlyin the shanty towns (favelas). According to the Government of the UnitedKingdom, a visit to any favela can be dangerous, even if it’s part of anorganized tour. Violent crime is common in urban areas during both the day andnight, with widespread gang activity. Use caution at night and do not displaysigns of wealth. Tourists are often targeted, particularly around festivalperiods, states the AustralianGovernment.
The U.S.Department of State has a Level 2 travel advisory for the country, with Level4 advisories for favela neighborhoods, satellite cities, Pina Beach after dark,and areas within 150 kilometers of Brazil’s land borders.
There has also been an increase in reported cases of yellowfever, particularly in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Minas Gerais.
However, “despite the high crime levels, most visits aretrouble free,” reads the Government of the United Kingdom.