The government has recently adjusted the cruise permit fee for foreign tourist vessels in the Maldives, setting it at USD 1,000 (equivalent to MVR 15,420), a reduction from the previous charge of MVR 5,000.
This change is part of the updated regulations governing the entry and docking of foreign tourist vessels, which were unveiled last Thursday. These regulations specify that such ships can only enter Maldivian waters once they have appointed a local agent to oversee their operations. These vessels are permitted to act as agents during a defined timeframe approved by Customs, following specific guidelines.
The Ministry of Tourism has outlined several responsibilities for these vessels. Firstly, the appointed agent is responsible for ensuring that any fees or taxes owed to the Maldivian government are paid to the Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) before the ship departs. Additionally, vessels must obtain permission from the Tourism Ministry before navigating and docking within Maldivian territory.
Furthermore, there is a provision that states if a foreign tourist vessel, measuring over 20 meters in size, stays in the country for more than seven days after customs clearance, MIRA will impose a USD 1,000 fee for a cruise permit. Such vessels are initially allowed a maximum stay of 90 days, but those registered with the International Maritime Organization may be eligible for an extension, permitting them to remain for up to 365 days from their arrival date.
For vessels measuring less than 20 meters, they can navigate and dock in the Maldives for up to 90 days at no cost. If they wish to extend their stay beyond this period, a daily fee of USD 50 will apply, allowing them to remain for up to 275 days.
During this time frame, if ship crews intend to carry additional passengers beyond the ship owner’s immediate family, they must obtain a charter license. If a vessel wishes to operate as a charter for an extended period after the license expires, a new charter license must be obtained from the Ministry of Tourism.
It is important to note that the Ministry of Tourism has the authority to impose fines on a ship’s agent for non-compliance with these regulations. The fines for initial violations start at USD 1,000, with a second violation incurring a penalty of USD 2,000, and subsequent infringements resulting in fines of USD 6,000 each.