In a matter of days, SuperyachtNews.com has received advertisements for several superyachts in eastern Med locations, both priced competitively and limited availability, two indicators that point to increasing popularity.
Hill Robinson’s charter division has been marketing 55m S/Y Germania Nova’s availability in the area, at between €70,000 and €80,000 a week, and 49m M/Y Mercy Boys in Athens and available at €99,000-€115,000 a week. Meanwhile, Imperial Yachts is publicising the availability of 55m Amels-built Astra in the eastern Med at both the beginning and end of the summer season, bookending a summer in the western Med at €20,000 a week less.
In an exclusive conversation with SuperyachtNews.com, Elisa Ravella, Floating Life Charter&Brokerage’s manager, said the Aegean and Ionian islands in particular were enjoying “a real boom.” We’re working on about 25 requests for this summer 2015 and it looks as if it will go bigger”, she explained.
Specifically, Spetses, Idra, Egina and Ionian islands like Corfu have received the most enquiries. And Ravella says this is because “UK and US clients consider the Aegean sea and Eastern Med the real heart of the Mediterranean basin; it’s an ‘all in one’ destination where glamour, sport, gourmet food and culture live in perfect harmony.”
There are concerns among the security fraternity however, that this harmony could be disrupted by the migrant epidemic currently afflicting the region. With the problem reaching a critical level, the proximity of migrant launching spots to eastern Mediterranean cruising areas, and the legal obligation of vessels to assist those in distress, it is an important consideration for operators and managers this summer.
However, Maritime Asset Security and Training (MAST) Services and Logistics chief operating officer, Gerry Northwood, who was previously head of operations for Operation Atalanta, advocates prudence over hysteria among the superyacht community.
“We are not at war”, Northwood explained. “Smugglers are criminals and a crime requires burden of proof. It will be difficult to distinguish between a fishing vessel and a potential smuggling boat. Therefore, lethal force may well result in collateral damage and loss of life or livelihood.