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Ocean outlook: Atlantic, Caribbean, Mediterranean

by Noonsite 5 Apr 14:28 UTC
Atlantic Ocean © Noonsite


The collapse of the Francis Scott Key bridge in Baltimore this week after being hit by a cargo ship, has closed one of the USA's major east coast ports to commercial traffic and recreational vessels for the foreseeable future. Regular Noonsite contributors Floris and Ivar (Sailors for Sustainability) sailed under the bridge just hours before it collapsed and provided a first-hand report.

Having recently decided to close their mooring field, St. Helena Port Control are seeking feedback from any yacht that recently intended to visit St. Helena, however decided not to, due to anchoring being the only available option. E-mail if this was your decision - or indeed would be your decision in the future - with an explanation why, so we can accumulate the responses and share them with St. Helena Harbour Master.

Caribbean Sea:

The SSCA's free Bahamas Gathering at Black Point was once again a great success with over 100 SSCA boats and many others dropping in during the 4-day event. At times the count reached 157 boats at anchor. Save the dates for next year's Gathering, tentatively set for March 13-16 2025.

Following the tragic deaths of cruising couple Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel when their catamaran was hijacked by escaped criminals in Grenada in February, the recaptured criminals have now been charged with capital murder and other serious offences. For an update see here.

Various security reports have been received this month via the Caribbean Safety and Security Net who document crime against cruisers, including an aggressive attempted boarding at Cabo de la Vela, Colombia, a stolen dinghy from a moored yacht in St. Martin, bag theft on a beach in St. Vincent and attempted theft from yachts in both the north and south of St. Lucia. See all security reports this month.

The popular port of entry, Deshaies, in Guadeloupe no longer has a clearance computer available. Yacht clearance has also moved from the Police station to a grey portacabin by the small boat harbour housing the dockmaster. More details on the Noonsite Deshaies page.

Cruisers have commented on our Venezuela pages about a recent visit to Los Roques (just a 2 day/2 night sail from Martinique) made super-easy by dealing with an agent in advance.


Fred Bayre currently in Alcaidesa Marina, La Linea, reports that various divisions of the Spanish Police visit the marina almost every day (when it's not raining), showing interest mostly in UK flagged yachts and their crews' passports. Be sure to have all your paperwork in order and know the Schengen rules.

The "Constituto" is required by all yachts visiting Italy that have not paid VAT in the EU and should be obtained at the first port of entry. This acts like a Transit Log and although it is ignored in most ports, can prove useful, especialy if this is your first entry into the EU. US Sailor Tom Newman reports: "We picked up a Constituto in Syracusa (arriving from Malta) and surrendered it in Imperia. We did not stamp it anywhere else in Italy and called at 9 other stops. Nobody ever asked and Imperia did not seem to care about it. Even though it is designed to be like the Greek Transit Log, signed everywhere, unlike Greece the Italians don't seem too bothered if you don't. In Greece I was threatened with fines for missing two ports."

Cruisers report on security issues at the island of Evia in Greece, where there is a bridge between the island and the mainland which opens for vessels. Apparently, there is a history of night-time break ins at the waiting dock for the bridge while the owners are sleeping. Advice is to lock your boat at all times when not on board and at night, and don't leave any valuables on deck or in view down below.

The European Union has commissioned a study to analyse the advantages of recognising boater licenses EU-wide in a effort to understand the benefits and challenges of such a recognition system and its potential implementation. There is a General Public Survey which aims to gather views on the current regime and experiences regarding skipper's licence/qualification for recreational boaters. Find out how you can participate.

This article has been provided by the courtesy of

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