The International Council of Marine Industry Associations was founded in 1966 with the goal of bringing together countries with active marine industries. ICOMIA lobbies on behalf of national marine associations through committees that are critical in presenting a united voice to address issues that affect the industry as a whole.
With its myriad connections, ICOMIA provided Soundings Trade Only with a guide to how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting marine businesses and recreation globally in areas where reports are scarce, from the European Union to the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Oceania. We plan on providing regular updates through our daily Web-based newsletter as information is disseminated and governments respond to the crisis.
Many marinas pay a concession — a rental or leasing fee to a government agency. To help reduce the financial stress and job losses at marinas, these agencies can provide a temporary halt to the requirement to pay the fee for a given period of time. In North Queensland, for example, the government through the Port Authority has provided the Cairns marina with fee relief, with some fees halted until the end of 2023. The total value of the fee relief package for operators at the marinas is AU$3 million. Also, by providing relief to the marina operators, they are then in a better financial position to pass on fee relief to their tenants.
Since boating season has not begun in most parts of Canada, there are not significant restrictions at this time. However, all national parks are closed for access to land and water. In Ontario, marine servicing has been deemed essential.
Boatbuilders in Finland are located mostly in the countryside, where the virus is not (at least yet) spreading. This reduces the risk of production disturbances but, of course, does not protect builders from possible supply chain disturbances or changes in consumer purchasing power.
Marinas are closed. Boats cannot be moved into the harbor. At marinas, sailing clubs and the like, two people are allowed at a time to work on a boat. Professionals are also allowed to work on boats. If boats are already in the water, owners are not permitted to enter them. The main goal is to open marinas as soon as possible to get the season started.
A discussion has started with the government regarding the mooring fees of charter and other commercial boats that are currently moored/locked in marinas. All charters or sails are forbidden in the Greek territory, so now the professional unions and associations are asking a 40 to 60 percent discount on the mooring fees for the next few months. The state announced a 40 percent reduction on the rent for stores, restaurants, cafes, etc., during the lockdown. The Greek Marinas Association has requested from the state proportional reductions on marinas’ concession fees.
Due to the increasing number of cases, the government has stepped up introducing stronger measures — limiting alcohol licenses at bars and restaurants, and ordering the closure of sports clubs with private recreational leases. Several yacht clubs have closed due to the new government policies, but access to boats is still open. Cancellation of both international and local boating and sailing events has had a significant to moderate negative impact for 75 percent of the companies in the industry.
All sports have been canceled, and this has had a significant impact on sailing, which is usually gearing up for a busy summer season at this time. Yacht clubs have closed catering and social events, and have changed to members only to reduce contamination.
Marinas have not closed but are steadily reducing services and facilities. Most visiting boats from outside the immediate area are not being admitted to private marinas to limit exposure. Many marinas are closing bathroom facilities (except disabled access), laundries and even removing water hoses from the docks. Self-isolation aboard boats is also strictly forbidden. The overriding concern is staff becoming sick or having to stay home, which will have a negative effect on the marina’s ability to remain open and operational. Closing to customers entirely may prove to be the sensible option in the short term. There may yet come political pressure to stop people from going out on their boats while others are forbidden to access public parks, beaches, holiday homes, etc.
The country is in full lockdown, and marinas were closed due to being classified as non-essential businesses. Within the marine industry, only repair companies (boats, engines, etc.) and specific suppliers are included in the list of permitted activities. Some marine equipment manufacturers (safety equipment, sailmakers, etc.) have temporarily converted production to provide masks or other supplies necessary for the pandemic. Boating and access to the coast are banned by local authorities, along with a restriction on leaving homes for unjustified reasons.
The Japan International Boat Show was canceled, along with five other local boat shows planned to take place in April and May. Imported-boat dealers will hold new-boat sea trials for potential customers individually from April. Marinas are open without any restrictions. From a manufacturing standpoint, some parts from China have been delayed, and companies are looking for alternative suppliers. There is concern about the reduction of volume due to the global demand downturn.
Marinas and boatyards are closed, and people are not allowed to travel, other than to grocery stores and medical facilities. A small number of marinas retain some liveaboards, who are under strict controls. People are permitted to exercise by walking around the immediate area around their homes, and beaches are off limits. Marinas are permitted to have a security guard on site but no other staff.
Poland suspended international passenger air and rail connections, but freight transport flows. Goods can enter and leave Poland. Some marine industry companies are operating, although at reduced capacities. Yards are experiencing problems in the supply of various components and equipment.
Marinas and ports are closed to foreign-flagged boats. They are permitted in port for fuel and urgent supplies, but crewmembers are not allowed ashore. Boating activities are forbidden. Almost all commercial activities are closed at marinas. Maintenance had been allowed, with reduced schedules and minimal staff to service boats. However, by press time, ICOMIA said the marine industry was in lockdown. Marine services, yards and suppliers had to close facilities.
Essential cargo excludes boats, so none can be exported by ship.
Marinas and yacht clubs are closed to members and customers. Boats are not allowed to enter unless there is an emergency. Marinas and yacht clubs have limited personnel for basic maintenance and surveillance. Offices are closed, as well as tenants. Contractors are not allowed to work on boats unless they are freelance. Professionals and crews are allowed to board boats if they have to provide essential maintenance for the safety of the vessel. Typical routine maintenance is not allowed.
Marinas are not in lockdown, but cafes, restaurants and hotels within the facilities are closed. However, all boats arriving from overseas are diverted to port authorities for quarantine measures. Boatyards and equipment manufacturers are carrying on production, with extended precautionary measures. Some are operating at 50 percent capacity to maintain social distancing, and staff come to work every other day.
United Arab Emirates
Authorities suspended all maritime activities until further notice. Although boating is suspended, marinas remain open for boat owners, provided they stay on board and don’t venture out. Some resort marinas with hotels are offering services to owners who are on board (deliveries, etc.). In Abu Dhabi, all commercial activities within marinas have been halted, per the maritime authorities. Fishermen remain active, as they are considered essential. In general, marina offices are open, but manned only by administration staff.
The Home Secretary has new powers to request port closures, but the government is keen to keep ports open for freight and other limited commercial activities. Harbor staff and commercial employees who conduct essential activities can continue traveling to and from work. Recreational use of vessels is not considered essential, and those who violate new laws could be fined. Boat owners are advised to contact their commercial agents if they have a concern about the safety of their vessels. Owners should only consider visiting their boats for critical safety checks if they are unable to get the assistance of a commercial agent.
This article originally appeared in the May 2020 issue.