Immigration New Zealand told the crew on superyacht Bold only those essential for its operation would be granted a visa.
The 85m-long pleasure craft was destined for New Zealand but due to visa constraints is now its heading to Australia for refit work worth three-quarters of a million dollars.
The yacht owner and crew had been hoping to watch the America’s Cup races today.
In a statement, Immigration said seven of the 23 crew were not given border exemptions.
“For foreign crew to be granted an exception to enter New Zealand under these circumstances, they must be considered essential for the operation of bringing the ship to New Zealand for the purpose it was granted permission by the Director-General of Health,” INZ national border manager Peter Elms said.
“This means that passengers or non-essential crew can’t qualify for this visa. The MV Bold requested 23 crew be granted visas as ‘marine crew’. Upon assessment, INZ determined that seven crew members with predominately passenger-facing roles did not meet the necessary criteria of being required for the operation of bringing the ship to New Zealand.
“Subsequently, these seven crew members have not been invited to apply for visas as they are not eligible for border exceptions.”
It was the ship owner’s responsibility to ensure they understood the immigration process, their legal obligations and allowed sufficient time to secure all of the necessary approvals, he said.
“INZ would like to reinforce that anyone wanting to come to New Zealand must make sure they have the appropriate immigration approval before making any plans or beginning their journey to New Zealand.”
Bold was anchored at Fiji with more than 20 crew onboard including the vessel’s owner Guido Krass, a German industrialist.
Yesterday, Captain Todd Leech said some people “literally live here for years at a time on board”.
“It’s their home, they live here, they work here and New Zealand wanted us to fire them, send them home. They weren’t welcome anymore and we just couldn’t fire part of our family and send them back from where they came just so the boat could enter New Zealand.
“In the end, their strict rules, we really tried to make them work for us and for the boat but we couldn’t do it, it couldn’t fit with how our boat runs.”