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Quarantined Superyacht Crew Reveal Reality of Coronavirus Pandemic

24 March 2020• Written by Lauren Beck, • Written by Miranda Blazeby

Captains and crew have given insight into the reality of life on board quarantined superyachts around the world due to the coronavirus outbreak and COVID-19 pandemic.

Cancelled charter programmes, disrupted maintenance work and greater restrictions on individual liberties have been reported from superyacht crew.

Tristan Mortlock, captain of the 37 metre Sanlorenzo superyacht Awol, is currently alone on board the yacht at Seven Stars shipyard in Italy.

A number of works on board the yacht have been postponed due to disruptions to the supply chain. Mortlock added that the yacht’s charter schedule has been heavily affected.

Speaking on his Super Yacht Captain Youtube Vlog, Mortlock said “I believe the whole yachting industry (…) has been hit really hard. This time last year, we were pretty much fully booked whereas at the moment, we’ve got a few charters booked with the possibility of cancellations,” he said.

“When we have contractors we need to speak to, we aren’t shaking hands and they are wearing latex gloves and masks,” he added.

Mortlock is currently alone on board Awol (pictured)

While Mortlock said he felt “absolutely safe at the shipyard”, he said the future looked uncertain.

“What’s going to happen to the charter season, we just don’t know. Our hands are tied at the moment. We have to follow the advice and minimise contact with the outside world.”

Baldo Gjurasic, captain of an 80 metre new build superyacht, said he was receiving “bad news every hour”.

He and the chief engineer are the only staff left on board the boat, which is usually crewed by a team of 22 crew.

“The yacht should be delivered in early summer, money is scarce, plans are nonstop changing, subcontractors cannot come to the yacht, [and] parts cannot be delivered,” he said.

Many superyacht captains and crews are currently quarantined on board around the world. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock

Chief stewardess on board the 55 metre Amels superyacht Elixir, Samantha Klepper, said all traffic to the yacht had been “reduced to essential visitors and current crew”.

The crew meanwhile is working hard to “sanitise all handrails, doorknobs and high traffic points multiple times a day.”

The yacht, which is currently located at the Rybovich yard in Florida, has also introduced a “pre boarding screening questionnaire” which visitors must answer before stepping on board.

Meanwhile Rybovich has implemented its own screening test and is now checking thermal temperatures and sanitising the hands of anyone who enters the premises.

Nick Sleeman, bosun on board a 68 metre Feadship superyacht in Italy, said the crews’ movements have been severely restricted in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

“We are currently told we can’t leave the shipyard so after work and weekends off we are restricted to the shipyard itself,” he said. “We can’t get out of the gate to go for a walk – only to the food shop.”

The 55 metre Amels superyacht Elixir

An anonymous captain on board a 30+ metre motor yacht currently anchored off Antigua said he considered the crew “lucky” to be “in an area where few, if any, cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed.”

Nonetheless he said he had chosen to keep the crew “quarantined in a nice place, able to go outside and swim rather than at the dock, unable to step ashore.”

He added that the crew are “thoroughly cleaning all provisions before they enter the vessel” to protect against contamination.

Patrick Levitzke, deckhand on board the 60 metre Nobiskrug superyacht Jamaica Bay, said this month’s trip had been cancelled and the captain was considering introducing quarantine measures for the crew.

“Our captain so far is encouraging common sense and not enforcing strict rules,” he said. “However, depending on how the situation changes, there’s a possibility for curfews.”