Dec 5 2020. Arrival protocol presented to martime agencies today. Likely there will be additional clarity in the following days but here is an initial summary:

Pre-departure: contact and agree terms with a maritime agency. They should explain clearly their charges and confirm entry procedures. Establish a VHF contact channel to call your agent when you arrive at the anchorage.

You need to send your agent before departure:

1. Copies of crew list and corresponding passports (principal page)

2. All vessel documentation including ownership papers if different form that shown on the registration.

3.  Complete  and send the Maritime declaration of Health (annex 8). 

4. From Jan 4 a Covid 19 test is required. Either a certified PCR test taken within 96 hours from arrival, or a test taken while you are anchored in the inner bay (nobody may go ashore until this test is completed with negative results).  Agencies White Light and Alasmar can arrange these tests with a visit from a nurse soon after your arrival. Expected charge 350,000 cop (aprox 100 usd) per person. Other ageencies with similar charges include Logimar and Rimar.

From your agent you must obtain an entry security number before departing. This will allow you entry to the Port. 


Approaching Cartagena:

Make sure you have all routine boat papers on board including approvals from owner if you are Captaining/delivering a vessel. Crew list, passports and departing zarpe (sailing orders). Don't forget the security number you shouyld have obtained from your chosen agent!

Captain must also have a signed statement confirming there is no known case of Covid-19 onboard, or symptoms that might cause concern.

Crew list should include 2 columns for recording temperatures: one for  pre-departure and another to be completed 30 minutes before arrival to the Sea Buoy at Boca Chica or the Boca grande entrance (small craft entry channel).

List the last 3 ports visited before arrival in Colombia.


Approaching entrances (Boca Chica or Boca Grande) Captain must call Marine Traffic Control (Cartagena Port Control) on VHF 16/14

Your vessel should be flying the Q flag.

Before anybody disembarks you must call your maritime agency (if you have no e-mail call Club Nautico on vhf 69 (or the Club de Pesca on vhf 72) to assist with the communications. Remember all on board must take a Covid-19 test before disemarking or proceeding to a marina. Captain must report if there are any health issues onboard.  This is arranged by your agent

If Covid symptoms are evident the vessel will be directed to a quarantine zone established for pleasure vessels.

A vessel is freed from quarantine on completion of the health authority administrative procedures.

Bio-security measures are enforced in all marinas. Mask wearing and social distancing are required.  Use of bio security Face masks are required in all public areas.

Example of Health Declaration annex 8

San Jose Coast Guard are also listening on VHF 16/14/13


Main Ship channel

The main ship channel is Bocachica. Controlling depth 40ft.

Clearly marked by channel buoys.

Convention: Red Right Returning.

Until you have some local knowledge keep inside channel as you go around the inside of Tierra Bomba island.

Passing Punta Arenas you may well go aground if you go just outside the Green channel buoys.


Small craft only channel

One set of channel buoys only.

Max suggested vessel draft 8 ft. Actual depth crossing the underwater barrier (La Escollera) may be close to 11 ft but low tides and swells should be considered carefully.

Channel only 60 mtrs wide passing over submerged defensive wall joining the Bocagrande peninsula with the island of Tierra Bomba

Actual depth passing submerged wall inside the channel is around 11 ft but swells can reduce this significantly when passing.

Note: entering the Inner bay there is a coral shoal marked by the statue of the Virgin.  Ships can pass either side within the buoyed channels.

A note on Maritime agents.

Officially they are needed when dealing with the Port Captain's office. However, it often advisable to employ them to assist with all matters (Customs, Immigration and Port Captain's office).

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