June the 3rd, 2020 – The coronavirus crisis has wreaked havoc with the global travel industry. With many questions surrounding border closers, re-openings, flights and accommodation, the pandemic has caused many issues. As Croatia’s formerly stringent anti-epidemic measures are now loosened, just how can seafarers cross Croatian maritime borders and what must they ensure is done?
Let’s take a look at the official Decision/Decree (Odluka) on what needs to be done when crossing Croatian maritime borders which has now been entered into the Official Gazette (Narodne Novine), which I have translated into English in full:
Regarding the application of the Decision on the temporary prohibition of crossing the border crossings of the Republic of Croatia (Official Gazette No. 32/20 and 48/20), and the Decision on the amendments [made] to the same decision on the 9th of May, 2020, and following the previously published recommendations by the Croatian Institute of Public Health, we will provide additional clarifications and instructions:
Crossing the state border for foreign and Croatian sailors/seafarers:
Croatian sailors/seafarers who are returning to the Republic of Croatia after having been docked in any country in the world no longer have to go into mandatory self-isolation, but they still must respect epidemiological controls, and have an obligation to comply with both the general and special recommendations issued by the Croatian Institute of Public Health.
The latest changes enable the embarkation of all foreign nationals on ships of the merchant navy and yachts that are in berths in the Republic of Croatia.
After boarding a vessel, foreign nationals and crew members of a vessel or a yacht also don’t have to go into self-isolation when aboard the vessel, but they still must respect epidemiological controls, and have an obligation to comply with both the general and special recommendations issued by the Croatian Institute of Public Health.
Foreign nationals who are members of the crews of ships and yachts already in the ports of the Republic of Croatia will be allowed to cross Croatian maritime borders in accordance with the regulations governing state border surveillance.
Maritime agents, who, after disembarking in the Republic of Croatia, are organising the return of sailors/seafarers from third countries back to their respective homelands, are recommended to ensure the needs surrounding longer-term visas in advance. When organising travel, they are obliged to take into account possible restrictions in all transit countries so that the return is completed in the shortest possible time.
The Decree amending the Decree on Border Crossings of the Republic of Croatia (Official Gazette 38/2020) of the 30th of March, 2020, which, for the protection of the health of the population of the Republic of Croatia during the epidemic of the COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, closed permanent border crossings for international passenger traffic (maritime) remains in force.
These include: Umag, Porec, Rovinj, Mali Losinj , Korcula and Ubli. The opening of seasonal border crossings for international maritime passenger traffic referred to in Article 27 of the Regulation, has been temporarily postponed. In this sense, and while this Regulation remains in force, border control in seaports cannot be carried out at the aforementioned border crossings.
The arrival of foreign citizens who own yachts and boats located in the Republic of Croatia:
This instruction applies to yachts and boats on which accommodation and multi-day stays are possible.
Foreign nationals who own yachts and boats in the Republic of Croatia, except for citizens who are exempted from the obligation to prove the reason for their entry (Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, Germany and Slovakia) in accordance with the amendment to the Decision on the temporary prohibition of crossing the borders of the Republic of Croatia of the 28th of April, 2020, foreign nationals can cross the Croatian maritime border with the presentation of documentation proving the ownership of a vessel and documentation proving that they are the user of the vessel (a lease agreement).
Along with documentation proving the ownership of the vessel, it is necessary to submit a berth contract and/or a confirmation of the nautical tourism port at which the vessel is located.
For vessels owned by a legal entity, foreign nationals who can prove that they are the owners or that they are the persons made responsible for the vessel shall be considered the owners of such vessels in regard to the above instructions.
In addition to the owner of the vessel, members of their immediate family may also cross the state border. When, in addition to the owner, members of the vessel owner’s immediate family are on board the vessel, in addition to presenting the documents listed above, it is necessary to present the completed list of crew and passengers of the yacht or personal boat attached to this instruction.
The arrival of other foreign nationals:
Renting a charter boat, ie using accommodation services provided on ships, yachts and boats is considered an important economic reason for entering Croatia. This can be proved by presenting the list of names of the crew and passengers entered into the eNautika system by the charter company or the owner of the vessel themselves.
Entry and navigation in the Republic of Croatia:
All Croatian and foreign boats and yachts are allowed to enter the Republic of Croatia. In order to avoid unplanned crowds, the owner or user of a foreign boat or yacht is recommended to submit their data before entering Croatian territory on the appropriate website. You must enter your planned sailing route, planned berths, a mobile phone number and an e-mail address via which you can be contacted.
International cruisers carrying more than forty (40) passengers are prohibited from entering Croatian seaports and inland ports.
When the vessel is docked in a Croatian port which is open to public traffic and/or in nautical tourism ports, it is necessary to prevent the transfer of guests and crew members from one vessel to another.
Upon entering the Republic of Croatia, all Croatian and foreign citizens are obliged to follow the general and special recommendations and instructions of the Croatian Institute of Public Health issued for Croatian and foreign citizens crossing the state border and entering the Republic of Croatia from the 9th of May 2020.
More information on coronavirus and the measures to reduce the risk of spreading the disease can be found on the CNIPH’s website, or by making contact with selected a physician and/or the epidemiologist responsible for the area of Croatia you’re in.
For all vessels that do not have built-in automatic identification systems (AIS) or some other electronic navigation tracking system, it is recommended that records of all landings from the beginning of navigation to the end of navigation are kept.
All Croatian and foreign citizens in Croatia are obliged to comply with all of the epidemiological measures published by the Croatian Institute of Public Health.
Croatian nautical tourism ports, charter companies and boat owners organising multi-day maritime travel are obliged to adjust their work and their provision of services to the specific recommendations issued by the Croatian Institute of Public Health.
For more on Croatian maritime borders, land borders and all other types of travel, follow this page.