Foreign owners of private yachts will no longer be able to lease out their vessels in the waters of Seychelles following recent revisions made to the Liveaboard and Yacht Charter Policy.
The principal secretary for tourism, Anne Lafortune, told the press last week that there are a lot of people with money coming to Seychelles on their yachts with their family and “we have to ensure that the enjoyment of the yacht is limited to the owner and immediate members of the family that they will be navigating with.”
“If the owner comes with a group of friends, he would have to lease another yacht to bring them around. Yacht owners will not have the right to lease their yachts with other people while in Seychelles,” said Lafortune.
The revised Liveaboard and Yacht Charter Policy, approved by the Cabinet of Ministers last Wednesday, provides guidelines and provisions for the yachting tourism industry in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
Lafortune said that there are procedures to bring other people on board, but it has to be after the owner has sought the approval of the Seychelles Maritime Safety Authority (SMSA).
“The owner needs to inform SMSA on the purpose of why they want to bring the group of people and how many would there be on the trip. They need to inform where they plan to go while in Seychelles,” said Lafortune.Under the policy, if the procedures are not followed, the owner will be faced with a fine of $2,780.
Foreign owners of private yachts will no longer be able to lease out their vessels in the waters of Seychelles following recent revisions made to the Liveaboard and Yacht Charter Policy. (Seychelles News Agency) Photo license: CC-BY
Francois De Lafontaine, the director of a local boat charter company, said that he is aware that there are some private superyacht owners coming to Seychelles, who are renting out their yachts or simply bringing a group of people other than family for leisure.
“We are paying our tax and we operate under standard procedures and it is not fair on us local businesses if they are allowed to carry these activities. On top of that if something happens, it might cause a bad reputation for Seychelles,” said De Lafontaine.
The director of a local company providing logistics to superyacht companies, Graham Gower, has welcomed the new revision made to the policy and said that he has also bear witness to those illegal activities.
“We have seen yachts visiting and changing crew regularly, claiming to be family and friends. Frankly, those boats barely stay at the marinas. They come out with their anchors, and they cruise around the islands. This is not fair on those businesses paying their taxes,” said Graham.
Another revision that has been made under the policy is based on a temporary cruising permit that will be given to these private yachts calling to Seychelles.
“The permit will last up to three months and after that, it can be renewed for only another three months in a year. We are limiting the size of the vessel that will be allowed the permit to 24 meters above. This will prevent superyacht from making direct competition with small yacht business owners,” said Lafortune.
In February the cabinet of ministers also approved some other revisions made to the Yacht Charter Policy. One of them imposed a restriction on the number of yachts in the island nation’s waters, which holds an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.4 million square kilometres.
“Although very vast, we do not want over exploitation of our marine resources. Therefore, the limit is 200 yachts and any one company can only have a maximum of 30 yachts,” Lafortune had said in a past interview with SNA.Next year a carrying capacity study for Seychelles’ waters will be done around the inner and outer islands “so we can better decide if we need to review the policy, and as an indication of how our seas are faring,” added the principal secretary.
Source: Seychelles News Agency