On Thursday 22 September 2011, Quentin Bargate, senior partner and Head of our Superyacht Group, sat as an invited panelist on a six person expert panel addressing the key issue, “Foreign Flags and the EU”, hosted by the Cayman Islands Maritime Registry in Monte Carlo.

Quentin Bargate at the seminar

The rest of our Superyacht team also attended the seminar, which was attended by many brokers, lawyers, accountants, advisors and other specilaists from the superyacht industry.  The remaining panel members were all experts in the superyacht industry.

Topics of discussion included the Spanish “matriculation” tax regime, which essentially operates as a wealth tax targeted at the owners of superyachts owned by Spanish tax residents.  The regime imposes a 12% tax on the hull value of the vessel, payable by the vessel’s owner. Understandably, many yacht owners currently avoid chartering their yachts in Spain so as to not fall foul of a regime which is often cited as a factor which impedes the growth of Spanish yachting market.

Other issues included the benefits of flagging in Cayman.  There are no cabotage issues which impact adversely upon the use of the Cayman flag, and many benefits that make Cayman the most popular choice amongst superyacht owners and their advisers.  VAT is not an issue affected by the choice of flag, but by the place of business; thus choosing the Cayman flag does not, by itself, restrict the free circulation of a yacht imported in to the EU using one of the recognised structures.

Quentin also provided the many industry professionals present at the seminar with some words of warning in relation to the incoming Maritime Labour Convention 2006, and a review of the flag states most often chosen by yacht owners.

Further information on these topics to follow later this week.  In the meantime, if you need answers to superyacht problems, please contact any member of our Superyacht Group on yachtgroup@bargatemurray.com or call our switchboard for more information.