Mention superyacht refit and repair and places such as Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona immediately spring to mind. But, there are other spots in Europe that have been offering refit and repair services for many years as well. One such place is Malta and it is keen to promote itself not only as a wintering location for the tax-savvy, but as a refit destination and long-term berthing alternative to traditional spots in the Med. Ahead of the forthcoming Superyacht Industry Seminar in Valetta - this year entitled 'Malta, a better destination for superyachts' - visited Bezzina Yacht Yards and Manoel Island Yacht Yards to understand how the Maltese refit sector is evolving and what it can offer owners.

"Originally, there were limited facilities for superyachts in Malta, and so expansion was difficult because we are restricted by space here," Victor Bezzina, director of Bezzina Yacht Yards, explaining that as marinas in Malta expand and improve their facilities, so too can the yards benefit by having more yachts to carry out routine maintenance and repairs on.

Victor Bezzina.

Another driving force for change in Malta has been the privatisation of former government-owned yards, like Manoel Island Yacht Yards, which was privatised two years ago. For Andrew Wilson, who has been working for Manoel Island for nine years, privatisation has meant much-needed investment for, and upgrades to the yard.

Both Bezzina and Wilson emphasised that the strength of Malta as a refit destination lies in the cost advantages. "Refit and repair in Malta is definitely cheaper in the long run," said Wilson, who explained that, although being an island meant that importing some things was slightly more expensive than on the mainland, labour was significantly cheaper and still extremely skilled. "Malta has many really good tradesmen right here on our doorstep," Bezzina echoed. "And all the major brands are well-represented."

Andrew Wilson.

The upcoming seminar promises to shed even more light on how Malta is adapting and growing as a superyacht destination and what its future plans are. will bring readers more from Malta in the coming days and a full report on the seminar will be published in Issue 148 of The Supeyacht Report.

Profile links

Bezzina Ship Repair Yard Ltd

Manoel Island Yacht Yard

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