Now in its 7th consecutive year, the Opportunities in Superyachts conference was once again held in Malta and has definitely become a key networking event in the superyacht calendar.
Grand Harbour Marina hosted the opening drinks reception catered by Bradbury Yachting Concierge Service to allow all delegates to network and catch up the evening before the conference. The event touched on key issues of concern to superyacht leaders including finance, regulation, safety, security, insurance, tax, corporate ownership, brokerage, chartering, marinas and crew training.
Gordon Vassallo, General Manager at Grand Harbour Marina was among a panel of industry professionals to discuss Marinas and Refit Services in the Mediterranean during the conference, commenting:
“The Maltese refit facilities are steadily on the rise with the islands latest addition in yard services, ‘Malta Maritime Hub’ currently in the process of assembling a 700 tonne travel lift. This, along with an increased capacity in yacht marinas, including further expansion of berthing for yachts and Superyachts at Grand Harbour Marina, and around the island is steadily making Malta a key industry player in the already competitive yachting market in Europe.”
With regards to yachting movements, Malta seems to be in a prime geographical location for yachts at the start and end of the season en-route from the Balearics to the Suez and vice versa.’ However, Sam Tucker, Head of Superyachts, Vessels Value added that ‘Malta is becoming a destination in itself rather than just a crossing.’
John A. Huber, Chairman, Yachting Malta agreed with the statement adding that ‘Yachting should definitely be seen as an economic pillar within the Maltese Industry.’ The international sailing community want destinations which are top notch. The visual impact of Malta alone, as well as its breath taking backdrops certainly does not go unnoticed. Moreover the island possess’ a ‘can do attitude’ which lend to a cohesive environment placing Malta at the centre of Maritime excellence. This, coupled with the islands connectivity; now adding 13 new direct routes to Malta this year so far, increase itself as a yachting hub and an integral part of the yachting industry.
The conference also touched on Environmental Sustainability in Yachting and green initiatives being implemented across all boards of the industry. Grand Harbour Marina will continue to promote an eco-friendly mind set by banning plastics from dock side events, implementing the islands 2nd sea bin in its marina and continuously organising clean up campaigns which continue to be a success amongst Grand Harbour Marina staff and Yacht Crew.
The events schedule on the island is already blessed with such prestigious events such as this, as well as The Rolex Middle Sea Race which brings like-minded yachtsmen from all over the world to the Maltese shores to enjoy this international offshore race. With this in mind, the yachting community are constantly thinking of ways to improve the event calendar for captains and crew as well as guests and owners onboard.
Amongst the delegates attending the event, were a few of our resident Superyacht Captains, who thoroughly enjoyed the variety of discussions addressed during the conference and appreciated the opportunity to get to chat to the numerous representatives present during the seminar.
Captain Graeme Riddle commented, “I have been visiting Malta on yachts since 1999, first as a deckhand working my way up to Captain and have always experienced a friendly and professional welcome from the people and various companies here. I am pleased to see that through events such as this one, Malta is continuing to improve their hands on approach to customer relations as well as being extremely proactive with regard their technical and financial services the island has to offer.”
In fact another interesting topic discussed was related to crew training and ways in which Malta is developing a holistic approach towards training which is directly correlated with the owners overall experience. Joseph Meli from Maritime MT, a speaker at this year’s conference also highlighted their new training facility which will host Full Manoeuvre Simulators as well as the GMDSS, ECDIS and Loading Programmes for Advanced Tanker Training. The facility has a capacity for over 100 students with 5 classrooms, a seamanship room as well as an Engineering Workshop. Moreover they will assist with all necessary training and certifications for Bridge, Deck, Engineering, Hospitality and Galley.
Emma Cassar, Events & Marketing Manager at Grand Harbour Marina commented after the event, “As a Super Yacht Marina we are extremely excited to see what the future holds for the yachting industry on the island which no doubt has some very interesting marine developments in the near future. In the meantime, we continue to be at the forefront in welcoming the world’s superyachts to the Maltese shores, especially now as we enter the busy summer season!”
To book a berth at Grand Harbour Marina, click here.