Algeria, while not widely considered a stalwart of superyachting, is the silent partner of the the Mediterranean and Balearic markets - offering fuel that is considerably cheaper than that found in both regions, as well as providing a convenient VAT run for vessels on the search for fiscal exemption.
Traditionally, Algeria has been able to benefit from two crucial markets; until recently non-EU owners who commissioned an Italian new build, or bought a second-hand yacht in Italy, would have to export the yacht to a non-EU port and provide proof of exportation to the Italian customs authorities to ensure there was no VAT paid on the project, the ports of choice were often found in Algeria.
However, a recent circular issued by the Italian customs authority, Agenzia delle Dogane has clarified that to obtain the exemption it is only necessary for the owner/owning company to provide an undersigned document stating that the vessel has left Italian waters – to be backed up by proof obtained from the vessel’s Automatic Identification System. This update has somewhat negated Algeria’s necessity.
“The other target audience is privately registered yachts that have been imported into Europe. These yachts need to depart Europe every 18 months,” explains Murray Bishop, superyacht services manager at GAC Pindar Superyacht Services. “There are plenty of other options with Africa nearby, but Algiers is the closest port outside the EU to Palma and lots of the yachts that are based there over winter get themselves ready for the summer with a trip down to Algeria to get a stamp in the book and fill up on fuel.”
Algeria’s appeal lies in the fact that, in comparison to other non-EU countries in the area, its political climate is relatively stable and superyachts can come and go with relative peace of mind. Alternatively, Morocco and Egypt are much further away, Tunisia is in the midst of continued political and extremist instability and Libya is in disarray.
“Fuel in Algeria is about half the price of fuel in Palma, and GAC have offices in all of Algeria’s ports,” continues Bishop. “However, we recommend that Algiers is probably the safest at the moment because it is an ISPS port. Algiers is a commercial port and it relies on staying open and staying safe.”
GAC Pindar Superyacht Services is able to facilitate ‘gift’ free clearance in and out of Algeria with all the conveniences you would expect from a servicing company, such as fuel and lube oil purchasing, spare parts, air and marine logistics and travel management.