May 17, 2022 1:21 pm

Punta del Este: 200 Argentine ships are stranded and cannot return to the country due to a restriction from the Ministry of Health

The Argentine flags around 200 boats moored in the port of Punta del Este They took over the Uruguayan peninsula, after almost two years without being able to enter the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. Since the eve of the summer season, More than 80 ships were dispatched from Argentine ports by the Naval Prefecture, although under the warning that they could not return due to the lack of a “safe corridor”.

While 80,000 national tourists cross the borders with Uruguay from one side to the other, aboard passenger ships, their own vehicles, and even planes, those who chose to do it in private boats today cannot cross the “pond” due to a Border Health measure, address that depends on the Ministry of Health of the Nation. For this last group of vacationers, are not enough the affidavit and the negative PCR.

50% of the port of Punta del Este is occupied by Argentine-flagged vesselsRicardo Figueredo

A large portion of travelers who choose the eastern coast to spend their vacations do so on commercial vessels, such as Buquebus, Colonia Express, or on passenger cruise ships. And both the ports of the tourist ships and the Quinquela Martín cruise terminal are “safe corridors”, according to sources from the Naval Prefecture. However, they indicated that “they are not enabled for the entry of sports boats”ie private.

Every private ship was dispatched in Argentina with the information that it may not be able to return. “You are informed by this maritime authority [Prefectura Naval Argentina] that prior to returning to Argentina, it must anticipate the conditions in which the country finds itself,” says a document, in the form of an affidavit, that the owners of the vessels must sign when they leave national waters, in addition to the paperwork completed by all tourists to leave.

Those responsible for the national maritime authority reveal that, despite the lack of safe corridors, today they are working on the possibility of setting one up. But, towards mid-January and with the season at its tourist peak, no confirmations of any kind.

During the procedures for the dispatch of a vessel in a Naval Prefecture unit in the northern part of the province of Buenos Aires, on the other hand, they slipped that there would be other reasons besides the issue of the sanitary corridor. “Already when we did the procedure to dispatch the ship, the person who attended us told us that it is a political measure, that they do not want to let them enter due to ideology”, maintained a boat owner, in private talks with THE NATION.

Contestants in the Rolex South Atlantic Circuit 2022 regatta have special permission to return to the country
Contestants in the Rolex South Atlantic Circuit 2022 regatta have special permission to return to the countryRicardo Figueredo

The anger of the owners of the boats stranded in Punta del Este escalates as the season progresses and their return dates loom. It is that, once their vacations are over, they must return home in another means of transport and leave their boat moored in Uruguayan waters. This not only implies not being able to navigate in your city of residence, but also the dollarized cost of the extra costs of mooring and the salary of the sailor who must stay in port.

Despite general irritation, the restrictions of the national government seem not to matter to the 200 owners of the Argentine ships that are moored in the port of Punta del Este. Most hope that by the end of the season this problem will be fixed.

The situation of the participants in the regatta organized by the Yacht Club Argentino and the Yacht Club Punta del Este is different. Rolex South Atlantic Circuit 2022, which sails from Argentina on January 15, returning on the 22nd. The contestants of the test will have a special permission to return to the country after spending a week on Uruguayan soil.

The eastern breakwaters are full of Argentine vessels and, as confirmed by the head of the port of Punta del Este, Carlos Ferreira, 50% of the place is occupied by ships of that flag. If you can’t go back, they must continue to add daily the 70 dollars they paid for each day in the Uruguayan coastal city, average price of mooring for a boat of 16 meters in length.

“The currency variable in the port has no impact”, clarifies Ferreira, and notices that the same faces are seen as always. In any case, since the 2021 season they decided to halve the fees for mooring and it was a position they maintained for 2022.

“I talked to many of them to find out if they were going to come. There is a lot of discomfort for not knowing if they could return. There were a few who did not dare to come, it is a situation that they have been experiencing for a long time and always with deficient information”, comments the port chief.

In Punta del Este there is no longer room for a jet ski. The level of adherence of travelers was such that some who had initially declined to travel today had to end up with a mooring in Piriápolis, more than 40 kilometers away, due to the lack of space on the peninsula.

There are those who believe that it would be a descent as “punishment” for those who have the possibility of leaving the country with their private boats to vacation.. However, official sources from the Ministry of Health told this medium that they are working on resolving it, but that there are still some details to be finalized.

“We have a complete agreement with all State agencies and the Prefecture identified the private terminals and there is an agreement by them to provide courtesy mooring”, they report, although there are still several pending issues for a measure to take effect that is not known how it will work.

The port of Punta del Este is 100% reserved and the waiting list is open
The port of Punta del Este is 100% reserved and the waiting list is openRicardo Figueredo

Ricardo He traveled with his family and sailor Daniel, on December 18, heading to Punta del Este. He is the owner of one of the 200 ships that cannot sail back to the country. Already in Buenos Aires, he says that he had to leave his cruise ship in the care of the crew member several days ago due to the Border Health restriction.

He comments that he does not have much information and describes the situation he is going through as confusing. “The person from the Prefecture can perfectly control the PCR, one more bureaucracy that is understood with animosity”, dice.

With anger at not being able to navigate in Buenos Aires, he relates: “Uncertainty about leaving and not knowing when you can return, today I have returned by Buquebus, having to leave the boat with the cost of the marina and someone to take care of it and then having to go look for it. Again, it is not a logical reason given what the Government has stated. In short, the reason for this measure is not understood.

the sailor Daniel, from Punta del Este, explains that the Uruguayan Prefecture dispatches them to return to Buenos Aires, but it is at the final destination that they are not received. “It’s a mischief, I do a swab here in Uruguay and I travel tomorrow. I can arrive with the PCR within 72 hours as requested”, he states, and wonders: “Why can I travel with 1000 people on Buquebus but not with the owner of the ship?”.

Martina. and his family also took the risk of taking his boat like the rest of the Argentines who share moorings with him. “The measure was imposed a long time ago, but it was so absurd that we genuinely believed that it would end up being a dead law. Since everyone kept pointing to the moorings here, we imagine that everyone believed the same thing”, details the young man.

“Argentina is the only country in the region with limitations imposed on the return of private vessels. It is quite ridiculous that commercial migratory borders are open and not individual borders, more than anything else because of the volume of people. It seems to me that it is one more case of those where you cannot allow the State to coerce you with meaningless regulations because at the end of the day you end up not being able to enjoy”, deepens from Uruguay.

Among the users of the port of Punta del Este, some are resigned and others eagerly await the measure that will allow them to return to Argentina
Among the users of the port of Punta del Este, some are resigned and others eagerly await the measure that will allow them to return to ArgentinaRicardo Figueredo

Vicente He is a sailor and took a ship to Punta del Este in mid-December and has already returned to Argentina. Only in February does he plan to sail some ships back, if the Border Health Department allows it. “You can see that they don’t want to solve it, it’s not very difficult”, he complains.

“When I came from Uruguay in Buquebus they did not ask me for any paper, only the DNI for migrations because the declaration played is already loaded. What would be the sanitary control that the Prefecture has to carry out? Only the entry of papers that is the PCR that they ask us to get out of there, ”he continues.

Maurice b. He arrived in Punta del Este last December 26 with his family. “I crossed because I suppose that this problem will be solved in the next two or three months, otherwise I will have to leave my boat in Uruguay,” he explains, as he prepares to set sail with his family on a sunny eastern morning.

“It seems to us that it is a totally unnecessary restriction that should have been resolved at the beginning of the summer,” he reflects, and warns: “Many people want to use their boats to go out of the country to have fun, in Uruguay there are many beautiful ports and it is a mischief that they put more restrictions on us when we all have a bad time due to Covid-19″.

Like so many other Argentine vacationers and without much desire to internalize this concern that interrupts his January break, Jorge P. assures, resigned: “We came to enjoy. We will return when possible, for now we are not too concerned”.

“Full capacity. The entry of boats to the nursery on the esplanade is closed “, reads a sign at the entrance to the port of Punta del Este. “Request Waitlist Form” is added. Despite the restrictions, saturation reached its peak. And, with the regulations in force, everything indicates that it will continue like this.

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