For a long time, the Spanish National Yachting Association (ANEN) has been expressing dissatisfaction about the inconsistencies between the different Spanish harbour master offices in issuing clearance (misnamed ‘charter licence’) for yachts authorised for charter in Spain, especially for foreign-flagged yachts.

In particular, these inconsistencies include the number and kind of documents requested in relation to the yacht-owning company and the yacht itself, the validity period of the clearance, the acceptance of authorised copies or only originals, the need to provide sworn translations or the request of the employment contracts of the crew (beyond the endorsement letters of the foreign maritime authorities), among others.

Our work has finally paid off and on 17 May, 2019, at the headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce of Palma, ANEN and the General Directorate of Merchant Marine Mr. Benito Núñez Quintanilla announced the agreement to simplify and unify the process across the Spanish territory. This seems to be much more logical than the previous situation, and will result in a greater efficiency and reduction of the current delays.

"The authorities will no longer be allowed to request additional or different documents for the purpose of granting clearance for charter..."

The plan will be put into action by approving a ‘service instruction’ that the documents requested by the maritime authorities will be the same in all harbour master offices. The authorities will no longer be allowed to request additional or different documents for the purpose of granting clearance for charter. Moreover, the validity of the clearance will last one year or until the expiration of the documents provided, whichever occurs first.

It is also important to point out that when the charter trip is taking place between different regions – for example between the Balearic Islands and Catalonia – a single authorisation by the General Directorate of Merchant Marine will be required. The situation until now was paradoxical because if the charterer or guests embarked in one region, such as Mallorca, and disembarked in a different one, such as Barcelona, it was necessary to apply for two different clearances, made even more difficult by the disparities between the harbour master offices. 

In short, this instruction will significantly clarify, simplify and unify the procedures for chartering in Spain, with the consequent benefits in terms of efficiency, costs and legal certainty.

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