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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, December 8, 2023
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FYI: Delegate Christensen and Sen. Hill

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Delegate Christensen and Senator Hill Join Forces to Assist Virgin Islands Charter Yacht Industry
Delegate to Congress Donna M. Christensen and Virgin Islands Senator Louis Patrick Hill discussed solutions to law enforcement and homeland security regulations that have negatively impacted the charter boat industry in the Virgin Islands with local and federal officials on Thursday. Held at the request of the Charteryacht League, the meeting was attended by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Department of Homeland Security’s Custom and Border Patrol division and the Virgin Islands Port Authority.
"This meeting represents a new era of cooperation between an industry which has tremendous economic potential for the territory and the federal agencies that monitor it," said Delegate Christensen. "I am committed to finding a process such as existed before September 11, 2001 that facilitates the re-entry of charter boats and their passengers into the U.S. Virgin Islands after they have visited the British Virgin Islands," she continued.
"Just assembling this group represents a tremendous success," said Senator Hill. "Multiple changes since September 11, 2001 to customs and immigrations procedures have caused inconsistencies not only between agencies, but sometimes within the same agencies on different islands. Yesterday’s open and honest dialogue will remedy some of that." The senator explained that the rapid expansion of the charteryacht league, especially the international megayachts, has resulted in more boats than available accommodations. "With the undisputed best harbor in the Caribbean, we have a natural advantage for attracting and developing a high end charter industry and we must make every effort to encourage vessels to homeport here."
AreaPortCommander for Homeland Security Terrence Drafts reiterated his department’s commitment to efficiency, courtesy, responsibility and service to every resident. He urged residents to register complaints with supervisors on duty so that a high level of service can be maintained. He agreed to work with the charter yacht industry to develop a procedures handbook for vessels before the season begins in November. Both Christensen and Hill expressed their commitment to helping the industry maintain an amicable working relationship with federal and local port officials.

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