COVID-19 Update: How Will Developments with Coronavirus Affect my Yacht Charter Plans?
With the growing global concern of COVID-19 and the public health situation that is emerging worldwide, we wanted to reach out and inform you what the implications are with regards to upcoming yacht charters. At TJB Super Yachts we are committed to doing everything we can to support our clients.
According to the information we have available right now and based on the information of experts, the peak of the virus in Europe should be reached within the next month. The relevant authorities have also discussed a high likelihood of the warmer summer months helping to slow the spread of the virus and estimates are that by June most countries will be recovering.
Safety On Board
A yacht charter is still considered one of the safest ways to holiday this summer. The privacy and freedom of location is unparalleled and there are still cruising destinations with much lower levels of risk.
Furthermore, all yachts and crews have adopted the following preventive measures:
- Crew hygiene is guaranteed as they will be thoroughly checked for COVID-19 before the charterers’ embarkation for ALL charters.
- Exceptional sanitary measures such as routine cleaning and proper disinfection practices including biological treatment/cleaning will be taken on board before each charter starts.
- Precautions also being taken on the ground, where staff at the private terminals as well as all drivers performing ground transfers are adhering to Government recommendations in order to reduce risk.
We also have clients that are adding a private jet charter to their booking for a complete and safe ‘door to deck’ journey. Do please let us know if you would like to receive a jet quote as well for your yacht charter.
Charter Cancellation Options
With regard to Charter Agreements that have been signed for charters to take place in the months ahead, because of the unprecedented levels of uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic it is difficult for us to provide you with conclusive guidance on whether your charter will still go ahead. Similarly, whilst each charter agreement will turn on its own particular circumstances, here is a broad summary of the contractual position for cancellations:
In the event that the Owner is unable to perform its obligations under the charter agreement as a result of COVID-19 and the Owner tenders notice of cancellation for reasons of Force Majeure, you will be entitled pursuant to clause 9(d) of the Mediterranean Yacht Broker’s Association Charter Agreement to immediate repayment of the full amount of all payments made by you.
The advice we have obtained from our lawyers is that it is highly likely that if an Owner is prevented from performing its obligations under the Charter Agreement as a result of COVID-19 this will be deemed to be a cause beyond the reasonable control of the Owner and within the scope of the force majeure regime.
In the event that you are unable to attend the yacht as a result of COVID-19, we would strongly recommend that you liaise with your insurers as the MYBA Charter Agreement provides that some or all of the Charter Fee may be retained by the Owner in the event that you are required to cancel the charter. The exact retention will depend upon the date that you tender notice of cancellation. If notice is given:
- after the Charter Agreement has been signed but before the final instalment/deposit is paid, the Owner shall be entitled to retain the first instalment / deposit;
- after any subsequent instalments/deposits are due to be paid, the Owner shall be entitled to retain the first instalment/deposit and any subsequent instalments/deposits due; TJB, as charter brokers, are unable to issue refunds on behalf of the relevant yacht owners.
As an alternative to the above, it may be possible for you to reach an alternative agreement with the Owners of the relevant yachts such as revised charter dates and we will assist you throughout this process. So far, yacht owners have been understanding about the uncertainty involved in booking a yacht charter at this time. We are working together with all respective owners and adding an addendum to the standard MYBA contract stating that if the situation becomes dangerous in your charter location or if there is a travel ban, your funds are protected and a full refund will be offered or a change of date into the future (up to 12 months later).
Similarly, if you wish to obtain independent legal advice on the terms of your particular charter, we have a longstanding relationship with specialist maritime lawyers whose details we are happy to share with you upon request.
Every member of the TJB Super Yachts team is working around the clock to ensure that our unparalleled personal customer service is maintained and that every charter affected is dealt with as swiftly and smoothly as possible.
The superyacht industry is remaining as pragmatic, flexible and practical about this situation as possible. We believe it is important to study the facts; ultimately yacht charters are still being booked daily and we are confident the summer yachting season will be as successful as always.
We are keeping abreast of developments as dictated by relevant authorities and governments. If you have any questions at all please let us know. We’d like to extend our thoughts to all our customers and hope that you and your families are staying safe and healthy at this difficult time.