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18th Captains’ Forum at the Yacht Club of Monaco on future of the yachting business

On the occasion of the Monaco Yacht Show, the Yacht Club of Monaco invited its yacht captains for a new edition of the Captains’ Forum, organised in collaboration with Only Yachts. In the presence of the three main associations: GEPY (Capitaine Jacques Conzales, President), Italian Yacht Master (Captain Gino Battaglia, President) and PYA (Captain Andy Crawford, CEO), more than 100 professionals came to discuss the arrival of a new maritime cruise contract set up by the FIN (Federation of nautical industries).

Following the Captains’ Forum on 17 May, which had given rise to many reactions, the decree (No 2017-307 of 9 March 2017) concerning the affiliation of seafarers residing in France and embarking on a ship flying the flag of a foreign state, and applicable from 1 July 2017.

Presented by Laurent Certaldi, CEO of Catalano Shipping Services/Agents, this new contract has attracted the attention of the yachting professionals present. The opportunity has highlighted its fields of application and its various advantages in comparison with the usual charter contract. Frederic Verrons of FIN (Federation of Nautical Industries) has clarified many points, notably on the possibility of benefiting from a VAT of 10% or 0% according to the itinerary of the ship, as well as the opportunity for the owner to be able to replenish petroleum products with tax exemptions. Considered as a travel service under the French Tourism Code, this contract meets the following criteria: a defined itinerary, a carrier carrying out a commercial activity including a ship, its crew, its equipment, fuels, liability insurance civilian life for the ship but also for its crew and its passengers in accordance with the terms of the Transport Code and the Athens Convention relating to the carriage by sea of ​​passengers. “This cruise contract,” said Patrick Danis, an attorney with the firm of Francis Lefebvre, “is now recognized, it is under international regime and asks to be known.”

This contract benefits from flexibility in terms of itinerary fixed in advance by the customer when it is signed. “The concept of stopover is not so rigid,” noted Frederic Verrons. “An itinerary change is thus possible and should only be the subject of an endorsement.” This addendum will be signed on board by the master and the client.

Gérard Vincent and Raymond Scarfone, of French Customs, specifed that the register of fuels specifying which type (taxed or not) will be decided in consultation with the customs department before the beginning of the contract and will have to be carried out three days before the departure.

A cruise contract being a service, the customer will not do what he wants with the boat contrary to the charter contract. It will therefore be up to the carrier to keep control of his ship, which he will sail through a contract that has been predetermined with a route and scheduled stops. In addition, it requires a travel operator’s license, which is a prerequisite for the use of this contract. In summary, Patrick Danis said that yachting professionals now have two complementary contracts, the legitimacy of which is established. These enable us to open new opportunities, new markets and, why not, reach new customers.

Yacht Club of Monaco

Following the Captains’ Forum on 17 May 2017, during which there was decree 2017-307 of 9 March 2017, The Yacht Club of Monaco invited a panel of representatives to discuss the consequences of its application from July 1, 2017, which had repercussions this summer on the attendance of yachts on the French Riviera, with a sharp decline in activity. Following the various awareness-raising actions carried out by the professionals, including the captains’ associations, in collaboration with the Club des Capitainesof YCM, Fabien Raffrey, co-director of the FIN, Dominique Dubois, director of the Maritime Affairs Department of Nice and Antoine Matthys, Director of the RIF (French International Registry), wanted to reassure the profession by saying that the government had heard them and that its intention was to take into account the needs expressed by the industry.

Even if this decree is in force and is not suspended, it will however be revised to be re-proposed by summer 2018. Pending the modification, certain flexibility will be envisaged in its application. And Bernard d’Alessandri, Secretary General of the Yacht Club of Monaco and President of the Cluster “Yachting Monaco” said: “It was unthinkable ten years ago to see all the players involved in yachting together with the various authorities in the sector who depend on the government (Customs, Maritime Affairs) in order to discuss the issues facing the profession. And what a satisfaction to note that all this is happening here in Monaco.”

With this informative Captain’s Forum at the yacht club of Monaco, it is hoped all of those in the industry can keep themselves up to date on the changes this year.

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