“An increase in size and complexity of vessel construction is a recent trend in the yacht building industry; an important progression after years of fairly static activity”, said Joel Walton, CEO of the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry (CISR) at the 2nd Dubai Global Leader’s Summit, on 21 January 2015. “Yacht builders with pedigree or innovative designs seem to have fared best, but overall the industry seems robust and healthy”, he added.
Mr. Walton chaired the session covering “Yachting – Regulatory, Fiscal Issues, Eco Yachts, Innovations, Finance, Investments and Yacht Management Imperatives”, speaking to leaders from the regional and international maritime and shipping industries, including ship owners/operators, charterers, traders, analysts, bankers, consultants, entrepreneurs, classification societies, regulators, port and terminal operators and the media, who gathered to discuss the growing importance and emerging nature of Dubai and the region in this industry.
As an insight to the state of the industry, 734 yachts are currently under construction, up from 692 in 2013. Eleven of these yachts will be additions to the ‘Top 100’ list of the world’s largest yachts, up seven from last year.
Many of these yachtsare being built under the new Passenger Yacht Code (PYC) rules, an initiative lead by the CISR, which were introduced in 2010 for larger yachts able to carry 13 – 36 passengers, but would still want to be considered pleasure yachts. The first PYC-rated yacht was Cayman-registered Equanimity, which launched in 2014 with Quantum Blue, Ocean Victory and Maryah following. Sixteen more PYC yachts are under construction and a further four are due to begin in 2015. Updates to the PYC rules are also scheduled to be published in 2015 that will provide allowances for sailing vessels and include stability regulations for very large vessels.
Looking ahead, Mr. Walton pointed out that a number of challenges would continue to face the industry, including: EU fiscal issues; globalisation of the industry, including issues involving interpretations/applications of the Rules caused by language barriers, and the expansion into China; a lack of qualified senior professionals/officers; the introduction of the Polar Code, which is expected to enter into force 1 January 2017; and he expects to see stricter enforcement by Port States on yachts large enough to be considered ‘passenger vessels’.
One of the major current trends is that of ‘eco yachts’. Increased fuel prices in recent years have encouraged research and development into more efficient hull forms, propulsion and use of battery power for energy storage. Mr. Walton noted that the protection of the maritime environment is top of mind with the passing of the Ballast Water Management Convention on the horizon, which will particularly affect large yachts.
He also pointed out to the delegation that Cayman is particularly attractive for owners, as the legislation enables the registration of a passenger vessel in a private capacity, a benefit not available from many other flags.
Mare Forum will be hosting their 3rd annual conference in the Cayman Islands in partnership with the CISR on May 7, 2015.
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