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Caribbean News – Dec 07

New Marina Resort Announced for St. Kitts

At the end of October, developers announced plans to build a 2,500 resort with six beaches, two luxury hotels, and a golf course at Christophe Harbour on St. Kitts’ southeast peninsula.  Applied Technology & Management, known for their work at Yacht Haven Grande on St. Thomas, will develop the project’s marina that reportedly will accommodate vessels up to 300 feet in length. 

Cruising with Cats and Kids…what, no dogs?

Horizon Yacht Charters just launched a seven-night ‘Cruising with Cats and Kids’ package designed to keep the kids amused with free water toys such as kayaks, snorkel gear, inflatables, and noodles, up to the value of US$100, for the duration of a 7 night charter. Children under 12 years will also receive a surprise goodie bag. www.horizonyachtcharters.com

CMA Lobbies for Interim Suspension of APIS (Advance Passenger Information System) for Yachts

Keats Compton, President of the Caribbean Marine Association, led a CMA meeting in Trinidad on October 8 with representatives of the Joint Regional Communications Centre (JRCC), implementing arm of APIS for the CARICOM agency for crime prevention strategies in the region. The APIS system introduced in February 2007 was created for use by airlines and cruise ships, but marine industry representatives have been told that yachts also are expected to comply with its regulations. 

Commander Louis Baptiste, Director of the JRCC, advised the group that APIS is an integral part of border control and security implemented in the ten participating CARICOM countries.  Wayne Beckles, Compliance Officer at the JRCC, provided a presentation on the actual completion of an APIS form.

The officials were told that most yacht owners are unaware that they need to fulfill the requirement and suggested numerous solutions including: a public awareness campaign; simple and user-friendly content; a lead-in period; a paper version of APIS for those without computers; training of immigration officials; and coordinated implementation by all CARICOM states simultaneously to replace existing forms; and a “travel passport” for inter-CARICOM travel by a yacht.  The group suggested that APIS should be applicable to vessels over 125 feet and should only apply to those engaged in Commercial activity (such as charters).

Since the meeting, it has been confirmed that Grenada and Trinidad & Tobago currently have no legislation regarding APIS and yachts and at this time are not affected; St. Kitts & Nevis and Dominica have advised that they will not be seeking to implement this initiative at this time.  St. Lucia and Antigua & Barbuda and St. Vincent & the Grenadines have agreed to suspend the implementation of APIS at this time.  The Caribbean Marine Association and its member Associations will continue to work their individual Governments until a workable solution has been met. For further information, please contact Sharon McIntosh, General Manager the CMA at: info@caribbeanmarineassociation.com.

New immigration legislation for Netherlands Antilles

The St. Maarten Marine Trades Association reports potential changes that could impact previous acceptance of the Seaman’s Book in lieu of a visa for nationalities requiring a visa. At this time, all crew from a long list of certain countries are required to present a visa for The Netherlands Antilles upon arrival (visa can be obtained at almost any Dutch Consulate around the world.)  Meetings were planned at the end of October with the Netherlands Antilles Ministry of Foreign Affairs to address the issue.  The SMMTA will continue to issue regular updates.  Website: www.smmta.com

Mercury Axius claims IBEX Innovation Award

Mercury MerCruiser’s Axius System was recognized recently by the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association and Boating Writers International for "Innovative Achievement" – the third IBEX Innovation Award presented to Mercury in the past four years – at the 17th annual International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference (IBEX) at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Axius is a sterndrive package that uses twin, independently articulating MerCruiser® Bravo Three® sterndrives to provide joystick docking.

New Chef Joins Discovery at Marigot Bay

St. Lucian-born chef and manager Carl Beviere is the latest addition to Discovery at Marigot Bay’s culinary team.  After stints with Sandals and in Great Britan, Beviere took up the position of Resident Manager in charge of Food and Beverage last month.

ESPN TV Camera Crew to Film Power Boat Racing on St. Croix, Trinidad

A 13-episode Carib Grand Prix Power Boat racing series is slated for filming in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands in June and Trinidad & Tobago in August 2008. The series will showcase “consistency, vigilance, and attention to detail as 2,000+ HP boats from five countries battle it out for top honors in the Caribbean Off Shore Championship Series,” according to Roger J. Piggott of Iceman Productions.  He reports that each episode of the series, available for broadcast the 1st quarter of 2009, will begin with footage of off shore race boats representing Trinidad & Tobago, Puerto Rico, Florida, BVI, and the US Virgin Islands.

Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup yachts on their way to St. Maarten

A new transatlantic race has been organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in collaboration with the Real Club Nautico de Tenerife for the start and the St Maarten Yacht Club for the finish.  Monohull maxi yachts with a minimum overall length of 18 metres (59 feet) were expected to depart Tenerife November 26 for a 2,600 nautical mile race TO St. Maarten.  Organizers announced that Peter Harrison, driving force behind Great Britain’s 2002 America’s Cup Challenge, will compete aboard his Farr 115 cruising ketch Sojanna.  Prizegiving is scheduled for December 14.  www.yccs.it

Save the date

Treasure Cay Hotel Resort & Marina, Abaco, Bahamas, will celebrate the 25th Anniversary Treasure Cay Billfish Tournament from June 8-13, 2008. A qualifier for the IGFA World Offshore Championship, this modified release tournament offers four days of fishing and fun with surprises planned for its 25th anniversary event.  Treasure Cay also will host the Bahamas White Marlin Open, April 7-10; the Bahamas Billfish Central Abaco Championship, April 13-18 and the Bahamas Billfish Treasure Cay Championship, June 1-6. www.treasurecay.com

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