Nautech, the French refit specialist, announced in December that it is able to offer additional refit capacity in La Ciotat, France. Nautech’s arrival in La Ciotat made it the fourth major refit yard to operate in the area, joining Composite Works and Monaco Marine, later joined by Blohm+Voss – which has recently been purchased by Lürssen from Star Capital.

For Nicolas Bruni, Nautech’s managing director, the ability to operate using La Ciotat’s facilities is the final piece of the puzzle with regards offering a full range of refit service. Nautech’s other refit sites in Marseille and Villefranche are best suited to catering for yachts in the 50m+ and 30m- ranges respectively, access to La Ciotat allows it to cater for the key range in between.

Developments at La Ciotat have been commonly reported on of late, from Blom+Voss’s successful tendering of the large dry dock, to the rumours that surrounded the motives behind the deal. However, in conversation with Bruni and Jean-Christophe Lenoir, managing director of Other Angle Yachting, both offered a positive spin on the developments at La Ciotat.

The suggestion of both Lenoir and Bruni, is that Semidep was unsatisfied by the scale of the refits at La Ciotat. With too many small and cosmetic jobs, the yard was not developing at the rate that, perhaps, it should.

“La Ciotat is an amazing yard for crew,” explained Lenoir. “The crew all like to go to La Ciotat because with so many refit companies on site it is very social. However, with a lack of top quality sub contractors, the big jobs were never likely to come.”

Lenoir suggests that the addition of Blohm+Voss to La Ciotat will boost the quality of the subcontractors in the area, leaning on the companies strong history of large-scale technical work and aiding all refit yards in the south of France through the sharing of knowledge. Bruni hopes that with Nautech focussing on larger, less-cosmetic refits, it will add further weight to improving the local work force and La CIotat’s larger development.

However, the problem of subcontractor quality and availability is an issue that is far larger than the South of France. All over Europe, the issue of losing traditional crafts is rife. Lenoir suggests that if shipyards, and the industry as a whole, fail to encourage young craftsman, it will not be long before we start seeing far more contractors coming from far further afield.

 

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