Netherlands lets non-EU crews work on yacht building, maintenance projects

ROTTERDAM – Dutch authorities have lifted a ban that prevented non-EU crew, assigned to work on the construction, maintenance or conversion of +24m yachts, from entering the country.

The new rule took effect May 15 after the Netherlands Maritime Technology trade lobby pointed out to Dutch authorities that non-EU crew can freely work on cargo vessels, but not on yacht projects.

“Good news for superyacht builders,” Arnold de Bruijn, sector manager at NMT, wrote on LinkedIn after the ban was lifted for yacht work. “This means that construction,  maintenance and conversion of these yachts will no longer be delayed by any travel restrictions on the crew.”

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the EU imposed an entry ban on individuals from non-EU countries. Seafarers were exempted from this ban, except the crew of yachts and leisure craft.  As of May 15, the exemption is extended to seafarers for all ships >24m.

De Bruijn could not say how many seafarers were refused entry but said “virtually all Dutch shipyards building yachts were affected. That made it difficult – in some cases, even impossible – to carry out work on a boat.”

Crew members often play a major role during the new construction, conversion and maintenance of yachts. They typically monitor work on behalf of a client.