Boating: Marine professionals received at the Prefecture (continuation and end)

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More than two years after the passage of the "Irma" monster, sea professionals were received in the Prefecture on November 20 to discuss the future of the nautical sector in Saint-Martin, an essential economic player for our territory !

A cooperation agreement has been signed between France, the government of Sint Maarten and Anguilla. This aims to develop relations between the signatory authorities in order to strengthen maritime safety and security, and therefore reduce the distortion of competition between territories.

Regarding Anguillan shuttles, the Directorate of the Sea is working with the Anguilla government to bring them into conformity, with a view to an international audit of passenger transport.

From next March, Anguilla will have a rescue ship, which will relieve our SNSM.

• Pinel islet

For Pinel smugglers, they are subject to less severe passenger transport regulations in sheltered waters. A ticketing is requested by the Prefecture, supported by the tax services.

• Clearances

For clearances, the day charter operators ask whether a tripartite agreement is possible between Saint-Martin, Sint-Maarten and Anguilla. Indeed, a French operator must find a service that offers exit clearance on the French side before 8 a.m., open on Sundays and public holidays. If the operator does not subscribe to the services of an agent, he must go to Road Bay and will obtain his entry clearance to Anguilla around 11am. According to operators, the solution would be that Anguilla does not have to request exit clearance thanks to a list of French NUC boats sailing all year round in Anguillian waters, the captain being responsible for the boat and its passengers . However, the Prefect stresses that the international trend is towards more control, and that the State wishes to be able to better control entries to Saint-Martin. It would be wise to think about the dematerialization of these formalities, which is underway in Martinique, we must follow this project. The Direction de la Mer and Metimer will approach the "Fisheries and Marine" department in Anguilla, in order to cooperate on this file.

• Nautical activities

Before Irma, operators deplored the lack of support from the activity offices of hotels on the French side, which are often providers independent of the hotel structure, which tended to favor operators in Sint-Maarten. The AHSM and Metimer must work together to make hoteliers aware of dealing as much as possible with French operators, who offer a quality of service, compliance with safety rules and a wide range of activities. The Direction de la Mer specifies that the law prohibits foreign service providers from taking customers on the French side, and vice versa on the Dutch side. Service providers offering snorkeling must be reminded of a supervisor holding a level 4 dive or a BNSSA.

• Oyster Pond Marina

Concerning the Oyster-Pond Marina, the Prefect follows this file with assiduity and participated in a mission of reconnaissance of the border with the Dutch side. We have been able to demonstrate that the border runs well in the middle of Oyster-Pond, but there is a problem at the level of the Mont des Accords if we follow the model of the Verbata card. The Montego Bay International Agreement stipulates that for a body of water that separates two territories, the separation is done on the median.  The French and Dutch states have come together for an amicable settlement of the case, which will resolve the problem more quickly than if we go through a European court.

The point on insurance will be dealt with during the meeting with a mission from the General Inspectorate of Finance, which will be in Saint-Martin on 26 and 27 November, in which the president of Metimer will participate.

• Orient Bay

The last subject concerns Orient Bay, a major tourist destination in Saint-Martin. There are many users of nautical activities and beach-goers, and no safety measures on the water have been implemented from Irma, apart from a channel for jet-skis set up by the Kakao. This area is part of the collective public maritime domain. It is urgent to set up a Local Nautical Commission to bring together the Collectivity, the State, and the actors to decide on the use of the lake. Note that this is a rare area that does not fall under the jurisdiction of the port establishment. Topics such as markup, setting up a kite-surfing take-off area on the beach must be dealt with by this committee.

To conclude, the professionals would like this kind of meeting to be able to take place 2 to 3 times a year in order to take stock of the state of boating in Saint-Martin with the competent authorities.

We bet that the demand of the professionals of the sea is heard… _AF

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