Foreign-flagged superyacht charter licence defined

PHUKET: The final regulations and requirements for a one-year permit that will allow foreign-flagged superyachts to charter in Thailand were announced at a public meeting in Phuket today.

The chartering licence is expected to be signed off by the Ministry of Transport next month, confirmed Marine Department Director-General Chula Sukmanop today (story here).

“We are confident that licence registration will be open by next month – this is our top priority,” said Mr Chula. “The licence will be multiple entry, so the superyacht can come and go from Thai waters as it pleases.”

However, numerous issues regarding the ability for superyachts to conveniently charter in Thailand remain in limbo.

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“The meeting is a step in the right direction. However, consideration is still required for the professional crew onboard, and their visa status within Thailand. If the crew are issued a 30-day tourist visa upon arrival, then this theoretically restricts the stay of the yacht and its crew to just 30 days,” noted Stephen Crone, director of AYC Superyacht Recruitment.

“Countries with similar legislation have introduced a ‘crew visa’ class, permitting a stay equal to the yacht’s cruising visa. This enables the crew to safely operate and maintain the vessel for the duration of its stay.”

Mr Chula assured Mr Crone and other industry professionals that visa, tax and custom issues will all be addressed following the charter licence request being approved.

“Visa issues and taxes will be the next topics to tackle,” Mr Chula said.

“They are also important, as they affect the income and general benefits superyacht owners will get by bringing their boats to Thailand.

“Fundamentally, we want to make sure all laws and regulations are clear before foreign superyachts start coming to Thailand.”

The rules and requirements announced at the meeting are as follows:

1) Foreign-flagged superyachts must be 30m or longer and not cater to more than 12 passengers.

2) Foreign-flagged superyachts must have a Thai national representative or juristic person in Thailand to register for the licence. In the case of a juristic person, more than half of the directors must be Thai nationals and more than 70 per cent of the capital must belong to Thai nationals.

3) Foreign-flagged superyacht companies have to supply the representative with a certified letter that is approved by authorities in their home-port nation, or a Thai embassy or consulate.

4) Foreign-flagged superyacht companies must fill in the licence request application, which contains details such as length of stay, purpose of staying, date of arrival, registration, size of ship, number of crew and the details of the owner or the company.

5) Foreign-flagged superyacht companies must show proof of full insurance coverage.

“All documents can then be filed by the superyacht representative to any marine office in Thailand,” Mr Chula said. “The request will then be submitted to the Ministry of Transport.

“All licences will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis by the Minister of Transport.”

The registration price will be 40 baht per gross tonne based on Thai Vessels Act BE 2481 (1938), confirmed Mr Chula.

— Kongleaphy Keam

Phuket News

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