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Phuket firm to co-develop superyacht facility in Bangkok

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: Island based, Yacht Solutions (YS) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Bangkok’s Italthai Marine (ITM), agreeing to create Thailand’s first dedicated superyacht facility just south of Bangkok. This joint venture brings together Thailand’s largest and most established shipbuilding company, ITM, with one of Thailand’s most reputable and experienced superyacht refit companies, YS.

Dubbed ‘Yacht Solutions at Italthai Marine’, the new facility is being set up in response to the demand for more superyacht refit and repair facilities in the Asian region – from both owners of superyachts based in Asia and those travelling from Europe and the Americas.

Located near the mouth of the Chao Phraya River in Samut Prakarn, just south of Bangkok, and easy to navigate to from the Gulf of Thailand, Italthai Marine provides the perfect site for such a facility. Its location, with convenient access to the Thai capital, and only 45 minutes from Suvarnabhumi International Airport (the transiting hub of Southeast Asia) is ideal because it is extremely appealing to owners, captains and crew due to the vast range of crew facilities close to hand. This deep water facility was needed by Yacht Solutions to cater for larger refit and build projects as well as shorter emergency and maintenance projects.

Speaking to the Phuket Gazette, YS Managing Director, Gareth Twist, elaborated on the reasons why Bangkok was the ideal choice for establishing such a dedicated superyacht facility, and not Phuket.

“There [in Bangkok], we can handle yachts as big as 95 meters long, up to 20 meters wide and weighing as much as 3,500 tonnes, whereas in Phuket, we can only handle [superyachts that measure] up to 45-50 meters long, 10 meters wide and weighing up to 260 tonnes.”

Asked if there are any plans or ambitions to build a similar high-capacity facility in Phuket in the near future, Gareth responded: “Definitely. We’ve got the funds and plans to build such a yard in Phuket, but acquiring the ideal piece of land, with good deep water access, has been an obstacle.

Meanwhile, Gareth’s brother, Simon Twist, has relocated from Phuket to the Thai capital as part of the latest partnership with Italthai Marine.

“As a major yachting hub, Phuket has a good yachting skill base, and this is our strength… We will continue to send personnel, who will be groomed in Phuket, before going up to Bangkok.”

Gareth went on to highlight the growth that his company and the island’s industry, overall, has seen in the past year. Currently, more than 90% of his firm’s business is dealing with superyachts. This is compared to last year, when only abut 60-70% of the business came from such large vessels, he said.

“In the past year, some 60 superyachts came through Phuket. Of these, Yacht Solutions worked on about 16… Our business volume from superyachts has grown three-fold and we expect the industry to continue to see strong growth,” he said.

Yacht Solutions at Italthai Marine will utilize a 112,000 square meter facility offering full ship building and repair capabilities plus a bonded warehouse and in-house design office. The facility is ISO 9001:2000 rated and boasts a lifting capacity up to 95 meters and 3,500 tonnes. It has access to two 115 meter dry docks, 300 meter alongside berthing, a floating dock up to 160 meters and 5000 tonnes lift capacity, making this the largest superyacht repair facility in Southeast Asia.

“We have been in the marine refit and repair business in Thailand for over 10 years and we have been looking for a deep water facility for the last two years,” said Gareth.

“We are very excited to be at Italthai Marine as this is the perfect site for us. Yacht Solutions at Italthai Marine expands our superyacht capabilities for hauling-out, and opens up a great yard option for any resident yachts and superyachts passing through the Gulf of Thailand.

“This facility is accessible to all of Southeast Asia being less than 800 miles from Singapore. We are very excited with this partnership as it offers a natural progression for our business.”

The superyacht industry in Asia is growing and recent trends show that there has been a year-on-year increase in the number of superyachts, either in the region or transiting through the region. Yacht Solutions at Italthai Marine is very keen to attract those yachts to this new facility in Thailand for planned or emergency refits, repairs or conversion work.

Keep checking our online Phuket Business pages for the latest local and national business updates.

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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