From long, the Spanish National Yachting Association (ANEN) have been complaining on the abundant criteria disparities among the different harbor master offices in order to issue their clearance (misnamed ‘charter license’) for yachts to authorized for charter in Spain, especially foreign flagged yachts.
The mentioned disparities make reference specially to the number and kind of documents requested in relation to the yacht-owning company and the yacht itself, the validity period of the clearance, the acceptance of authorized copies or only originals, the need to provide sworn translations or the request of the employment contracts of the crew (beyond the endorsement letters of the foreign maritime authorities), among others.
Fortunately, our work has been paid off and today May 17th, 2019, at the headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce of Palma, it has been announced by the General Directorate of Merchant Marine, Mr. Benito Núñez Quintanilla, jointly with ANEN -where I am the legal and tax advisor- the agreement to simplify and unify those criteria in all the Spanish territory. This scenario seems much more logical than the previous situation and will result in a greater efficiency and reductions of the current delays.
The pact will be executed by approving a ‘Service instruction’ where the documents to be provided to the maritime authorities will be the same in all harbor master offices, not being allowed to require additional or different documents for the purpose of granting the clearance.
Moreover, the validity of the mentioned clearance shall be up to one year or the expiration of the documents contributed, whichever occurs first.
Finally, it is also important to remark that when the charter trip is to take place between different regions (e.g Balearic Islands and Catalonia) a single authorization by the General Directorate of Merchant Marine will be required. The situation until now was paradoxical since, if the charterer or guests embarked in one region (e.g. Mallorca) and disembark in a different one (e.g. Barcelona), it was necessary to apply for two different clearances, which is compounded by the differences of criterion between the harbor master offices mentioned above.
In short, this instruction will significantly clarify, simplify and unify the procedures for chartering in Spain, with the consequent benefits in terms of efficiency, costs and legal certainty.
Miguel Ángel Serra Guasch
Partner of Albors Galiano Portales
Legal&Tax advisor to ANEN