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Yachting : Essential Monaco

22 September 2018 - 16h20

During this month of September 2010, the Principality is preparing to welcome the 28th edition of the Monaco Yacht Show, which has quickly taken its place as one of Monaco’s flagship events, and has become a major rendezvous for international yachting. The figures speak for themselves: 120 superyachts, 40 product launches, an estimated value of the yachts on display of over three billion euros, 580 exhibitors and over 36,000 participants last year. Not forgetting the 500 accredited journalists and television stations from all over the world, as Gaëlle Tallarida, the Managing Director of the MYS, emphasizes. For all that, the objective is not to increase the size of the Monaco Yacht Show, but to optimize it in all areas: the quality of the exhibitors, the satisfaction level of the various participants, the efficacy of the contacts made… “We have become contact facilitators”, summarizes Gaëlle Tallarida, while all the professionals stress the fact that the Monaco Yacht Show has greatly encouraged the development of yachting in Monaco.


Yachting, the fourth-largest industry


Yachting is the Principality’s fourth largest industry, emphasizes Edouard Mousny, the Vice-Chairman of Cluster Yachting Monaco, with a turnover of more than 700 million euros and over 1500 employees, for a total payroll of over 80 million euros. The sector is represented by some 300 companies, the 15 most important of which have seen their turnovers increase by 250% since 2005. What does this yachting business in the Principality cover? Essentially, the brokerage area (purchases, sales and charters), in which Monaco hosts the world’s most important groups, explains Edouard Mousny, but also designers, management companies, the port, a number of shipyards, and the Yacht Club.


In his opinion, yachting in the Principality developed quite spontaneously under pressure from a number of different factors: the superyacht explosion starting in the 2000s, which gave a new dimension to the sector, with the largest yachts reaching nearly 200 metres in length and a value of several hundred million euros, comparable to that of large commercial vessels. The owners or charterers of these superyachts are naturally attracted by the Riviera, where Monaco enjoys a privileged position and image. Finally, or above all, as we have said, the Monaco Yacht Show event has given a visibility to the Principality that has become essential for the actors in this sector.


The challenge of the Monegasque Flag


The only cloud in the picture of this buoyant environment, according to the Vice-Chairman of the Cluster Yachting, is the fact that the Monegasque flag has not developed since the 1950s, although it is supposed to be in a good position on the list established by the Paris Memorandum. It needs modernizing and opening up, so that it completely becomes the pleasure boating flag, insists Edouard Mousny. Many professionals from the yachting world would also favour new types of funding, such as leasing, as in neighbouring countries – especially France and Italy – which would enable Monaco to have an equivalent level of competitiveness, in particular from a tax standpoint, due to the applicable VAT.


Another subject that is a matter of debate is the social status of crews. The crews of boats flying the Monegasque flag are subject to Monegasque social security as part of the regime established at the end of the 1960s. Similarly, in the case of the member states of the European Union, it is the laws of the state of the flag that prevails, and sometimes also the place of residence of the employer and the crews.


As for the yachts flying non-European Union flags that moor in Monaco and often sail across neighbouring waters, their crews, or most of them, are supposedly generally resident in France, and therefore subject to French regulations. These rules are included in the Decree of 9 March 2017, continues Edouard Mousny, which requires seafarers who are resident in France and on board a vessel flying a foreign flag to be subject to the French regime for seafarers, the ENIM. The Decree caused quite a stir, and allegedly also had repercussions on the numbers on the Côte d’Azur last year. Since then, it has been relaxed as part of the Law of 30 December 2017 on social security funding for 2018, providing the opportunity either to register for the regime or take out a private insurance policy with similar guarantees. This opportunity to choose seems to have satisfied professionals, on the basis that the French regime would also sometimes be far more competitive than it had appeared to be.


Cyber threats


The Yacht Club de Monaco and the Cluster Yachting are making a considerable contribution to the various thoughts that might be put forward on these different topics. In October 2017, the Yacht Club organized its first Captains’ Club Superyachts Workshop, in collaboration with the three large captains’ associations (GEPY, Italian Yacht Master and the PYA) and with the insurer OnlyYacht. The Decree discussed above was presented, while on a different topic, the cyber threats that can attack yachts, which are increasingly connected, were also discussed.


In June, the 2018 Meeting of the Cluster Yachting was largely dedicated to the various security issues. After a number of presentations on the topic of “Security, an asset in Monaco”, several attendees made presentations on the threats associated with internet connection, the new technologies and drones, and discussed cyber security. The naval architect Espen Oeino, who is the Vice-Chairman of Cluster Yachting and closed the meeting, told us: “As everyone knows, one of the principal assets of the Principality is its security. Cyber security is another thing, and is more difficult to deal with. It is a vast and difficult subject to tackle, because you cannot disclose too much. The purpose was to alert the entire yachting community to the dangers represented by a lack of security at an interception level, interferences – whether with messages or systems – that might change a boat’s course. Unhappily, we have seen this case with a captain here at the Port of Cap-d’Ail, who was on a charter and was not able to tell us about it at the time of the Cluster. He was a victim of piracy, with a sudden change of course. No one on board the yacht understood what was happening. These are real dangers. I was a little apprehensive about this meeting, but in the end, the day was a great success”.


How to protect oneself


It is impossible to cover all the subjects mentioned on this occasion; however, we asked several of the participants to revisit the topics they had presented: Cal Leeming, founder of River Oakfield, a company that offers cyber security solutions; Ilhami Aygun, who is well known in the Principality for his satellite telecommunications businesses, who emphasizes telecommunications security; and Johannes Pinl, founder of MARSS Group, who in particular provided indications on how to protect oneself from drones. For his part, the maritime law specialist Henri Najjar explained what the liabilities might be in the case of cyber attacks. We will leave the last word to Espen Oeino: “Clearly, just like our cars and homes, all today’s boats are crammed with microprocessors that are permanently connected to the Internet, so everything is on show at all levels. It is no longer possible to build a boat without microprocessors: they are in the automatic sliding doors, in the coffee machines, in the engines … Obviously, on boats, and especially on super- and megayachts, there is a member of the crew on board who specializes in electronics. This was not the case ten years ago. We are also planning to employ a specialist in our agency”.

On the sea, as on land, the Internet often has considerable merits and advantages, but it also has disadvantages and risks, and we need to know how to protect ourselves.


Délia Dupouy 

Photo ©MC Clic

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