First foreign vessel arrives under Blue Lane initiative

July 16, 2020 4:50 pm

Port Denarau Marina in Nadi. [File Photo]

The first vessel under the government’s newly announced “Blue Lane” initiative arrived in the country yesterday.

The vessel with two New Zealanders on board berthed at the Port Denarau Marina in Nadi, which is the official port for Blue Lane at present.

This is the first foreign vessel to be allowed in the country after four months, as restrictions were put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19 in March.

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Port Denarau Marina Limited Chief Executive Cynthia Rasch says this is a joyous moment for the yachting industry which has been at a standstill since the pandemic.

Rasch says the two visitors on board the vessel were cleared from quarantine.

She confirmed to FBC News that more yachts are expected berth at Port Denarau soon.

“There are many others currently on quarantine at the moment that are awaiting clearances from the Navy and the Ministry of Health before they will be able to come on to dock and land onto Port Denarau Marina. At the moment I think roughly about 4 as of this morning, there could be more arriving later this afternoon. The waters and the quarantine area are patrolled by the Navy and the Military and they are keeping a close eye to ensure that all of the strict conditions put in by Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Tourism are followed by these vessels.”

Rasch says there has been an incredible response from cruisers and superyachts, which is positive news for the Fijian economy.

She says they have received several enquiries from French Polynesia and New Zealand.

The ‘Blue Lane’ has been established for yacht and pleasure craft sailing and is being piloted at Port Denarau Marina currently.