Seven M/Y Bold Crew Denied Entry to NZ

10 March 2021 By Staff Report

The 85-meter M/Y Bold was intending to undergo refit work in New Zealand but on arrival was denied entry for seven of their 23 crewmembers. According to New Zealand regulations, for foreign crew to be granted an exemption to enter the country while borders are closed, they must be considered essential in the operation of bringing the vessel to New Zealand for its approved purpose. In this case, the Director-General of Health granted permission for the refit, RNZ reports.

“The M/Y Bold requested twenty-three crew be granted visas as ‘marine crew.’ Upon assessment, [Immigration New Zealand] determined that seven crewmembers with predominately passenger-facing roles did not meet the necessary criteria of being required for the operation of bringing the ship to New Zealand,” INZ national border manager Peter Elms told RNZ. “Subsequently, these seven crewmembers have not been invited to apply for visas as they are not eligible for border exceptions.”

He also states it was the owner’s responsibility to ensure they understood the immigration process, their legal obligations, and allowed sufficient time to secure the necessary approvals. While the NZ border is closed, yachts may enter New Zealand on an exemption if they are undergoing refits, repairs, or refurbishments on the vessel of substantial nature and not less than NZ$50,000 in cost. Only after gaining approval from the Ministry of Health under the refit rule do crew apply for visas as critical workers.

Elms told RNZ that Bold’s Minimum Safe Manning Certificate stated they needed eight crew, and immigration took that info and said they were happy with 16 crew, who all had sailing positions “involved in the mechanics of bringing the vessel” to ensure that they could safely bring the yacht to New Zealand.

According to RNZ, Capt. Todd Leech said that some people “literally live here for years at a time on board. It’s their home, they live here, they work here; and New Zealand wanted us to fire them, send them home. They weren’t welcome anymore and we just couldn’t fire part of our family and send them back from where they came just so the boat could enter New Zealand.”

He stated they have strict pandemic protocols on board and ashore and operated as a superyacht bubble, visiting uninhabited beaches or swimming at an offshore reef. The owner and crew were hoping to watch the America’s Cup races. It’s reported that the vessel plans to head to Australia instead.