October 2016 - The Future for Yacht Chartering - by Alex Chumillas, YBDSA Member

One Ocean Port Vell, the new superyacht marina in Barcelona, Spain, held the conference The Future for Yacht Chartering on 11 October organised by Quaynote Communications. The conference gathered around 70 professionals of the yachting industry of different nationalities and examined different aspects concerning the superyacht charter market with a special attention to the current situation of the Spanish market and regulations.

The one-day event started with a very interesting presentation by Fiona Maureso, President of MYBA, who gave an overview of the current status of the superyacht charter industry and the main threats the industry are facing today, among them deserving special mention, the difficult tax environment in the Mediterranean and bureaucracy associated to charter operations. The first session finished with a presentation from Paul Cook, General Manager of OOPV, who explained how the Barcelona is using the charter industry as an opportunity to develop the marina itself, due to its privileged position the marina is promoting the destination as a departing point to access the Balearic Islands.

The second session focused on Port State Control and compliance with the MLC 2006 regulations. This panel was conducted by Alberto Fernandez from the Barcelona Harbour Master Office and Captain Rod Hatch, Lesia Group, who provided an overview on how a PSC inspection is carried out by Spanish inspectors and what were the impacts of the new MLC to commercial chartered yachts.

The third session of the day overviewed different tax aspects with special relevance for superyacht chartering. Alex Chumillas, Managing Director of Tax Marine Spain, reviewed the current status of the Spanish Matriculation tax in connection to commercial yacht operations in Spain and the current problems still existing at this regard. Gisela Martins, lawyer of Madeira-based company Dixcart, provided an overview of the Madeira Ships registry advantages in connection to commercial yachts. The session ended with a very interesting analysis of the VAT treatment on APA carried out by Carla Bellieni, Chartered Accountant of Italian firm Studio Piana Illuzzi Queirolo Trabattoni.

Session four analysed the potential of Barcelona as destination for superyacht charter operators, Alejo Trullas Rosa!, General Manager of the Barcelona Nautical Cluster was in charge of this presentation, were was highlighted the great development experienced by Barcelona as superyacht destination due to its strategic location, superyacht facilities (shipyards and at least four marinas able to accommodate superyachts in the area) and the numerous attractions of the city.

The conference moved on again to analyse several customs issues with special impact on the yachting industry. Among the panellist of this fifth session were Ernesto Carvajel, Chief of Surveillance Unit of the Palma de Mallorca Customs Office and Miguel Angel Serra Guasch, Lawyer-Economist, of the legal firm Garrigues, who gave an update on the new Balearic Charter Decree which is expected to come into force on 2017 and which will involve a simplification of the licensing procedure for commercial yacht intending to operate in the islands.

The last session of the conference covered different emerging destinations for the yachting industry with special attention to the Chinese market and its important potential growth as a new customer market and two new charter destinations — The Fjords of Norway and Cuba. The last panel speakers were Brian H. Hardman, Founder of Charterdart, Spanish-based company specialised in the Chinese market, Ola Hiis Bergh of the Norway Superyacht Services and Bransom Bean, Consultant, Paul Madden Associates.

After a long day, the event ended with a drinks reception in a nearby hotel where speakers and attendants could enjoy of a relaxed atmosphere and magnificent views over the Barcelona seafront. We can qualify the event as a very positive initiative and expect this interesting conference to be the first of many to take place in Barcelona.

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