The Balearic Government has announced that it will now allow non-EU flagged yachts over 14m to charter in the Balearic Islands. The same requirements as for EU-flagged yachts will apply and, additionally, evidence must be provided that no EU-flagged charter yacht with the same characteristics is available for the same charter period.

Until now, the chartering of recreational vessels had been reserved to vessels from European countries, which were subject to Spanish legislation. “There has been a sharp increase in this activity in our community over recent years,” a circular submitted by Antonio Deudero Mayans, director general of Ports and Airports in the Balearics, explained. “As a result of this greater demand, a large number of operators have stated to us their wish to carry out the activity with craft from third countries. In other words, from outside the European Union or the European Economic Area.”


Non-EU flagged yachts will now be allowed to charter in the Balearics.

“Anyone interested in engaging in the chartering of foreign craft with a length of over 14m, provided they state the lack of availability of similar craft flying a European Union flag, and evidence compliant with the other requirements, may apply to the General Directorate for Ports and Airports for the relevant authorisation, which will be for a term of one year and subject to the relevant charge,” adds the circular.

Miguel Ángel Serra Guasch, lawyer at Garrigues, was involved in the legal consultation process as a representative of the National Association of Nautical Business in Spain (ANEN) alongside lawyer León Von Ondarza representing The Spanish Association of Superyachts (AEGY). “The ability to charter non-EU flag yachts over 14m in the Balearics has been a demand of the nautical sector and is an issue that we have been working on, jointly with ANEN, for a long time,” he explains. “Having been evaluated by the government and its juridical services, they have decided to allow non-EU flags to charter in the Balearics, provided that the proper administrative authorisation is obtained from the Balearic Government. This means that it will be necessary to file the usual documentation about insurance, tax and certificates and provide evidence that there are no EU-flagged yachts available to provide the service."


Palma.

The latter stipulation initially appears to be a requirement that would be difficult to fulfil, but Guasch reassures that the government is keen to adopt a flexible approach. “This requirement is necessary because of previous Spanish legislation,” he explains. “We will wait and see how the government interprets and enforces it but we have spoken about it and I believe that it will be understood in a flexible way. We do not expect this to be a big problem because the Balearic government wants this to go on and progress, and they cannot ask the applicants to know if there is a similar yacht available for the charter in the whole of the EU.”

Combined with the recent Spanish fiscal reforms, this news is timely as the region looks forward to increasingly opening up to the superyacht industry. Network Marine Consultants has announced the change as “further good news for the Balearic charter market” and Guasch comments that; “This is very good news for the whole nautical sector, not only the owners and charterers but also for the shipyards, marinas and all service providers in the Balearics.”

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