Something to look forward to in the new year is the implementation of draft legislation which has been published by the Balearic Government, and is aimed at regulating commercial yachting activity in its waters. This legislation serves as a welcome indication of the Balearic Government’s commitment to growth and progress in the charter/commercial sector of the yachting industry.

Whilst on the face of it, the legislation does not radically change the way the charter process is already carried out, it goes some way to untangling the existing bird’s nest of legislation as it now stands.

Making bow or stern of the previous legislation proved challenging to say the least, and the new law brings all of the old legislation up to date, codifies it into one document, and makes it a whole lot easier to read and interpret.

Before setting out the actual changes envisaged by this new law, we feel we ought to clarify the extent to which this new law applies. In the Balearic Islands, two authorisations are required in order to commence commercial activity: 1) The Balearic Government Department of Transport Authorisation to Charter (the Government License) (which regulates the fiscal side of the charter license); and 2) The Spanish Maritime Authorities Cruising Permit (which ensures that the vessel complies with requirements relating to commercial compliance, crew qualifications, international maritime legislation etc).

The new decree only affects the Government license, and as such no changes have been made to the documentation required by the Maritime Authorities, in other words the procedure for obtaining the “Cruising Permit”.

The new rules/modifications/clarifications which are most likely to affect those of us in the chartering industry, are as follows:

1. The decree confirms that non-EU flagged/registered vessels are permitted to charter in the Balearics. This permission only applies to the Balearics and does not extend to other parts of Spain.

Whilst on the subject of non-EU flagged vessels, we still feel duty bound to urge caution when owning or operating a yacht that flies an offshore or “tax haven” flag, but more specifically is registered to an offshore/”tax haven” company. Not only may these companies be subject to greater scrutiny by the authorities, but such company set-ups are not always compatible with EU legislation. Network has a tailor-made solution for each individual case, which accords with the law and which avoids complications which may arise in this regard. Please contact us should you require further information.

2. Whilst it has been said that, in principle, the requirement for translation of documents not written in the Spanish language is no longer applicable, this only relates to documents required for the Government license – documents required for the Cruising Permit will still need to be translated.

3. The Decree provides for the validity of the Declaration of Responsibility (i.e. the Government license application) to be extended from one year to two. This will come into effect from 1 January, 2017. Declarations filed between now and then will remain valid for a period of one year.

4. It is important to note that the Declaration of Responsibility is signed by a charter license applicant, and in essence is confirmation by the signatory that all of the vessel’s documentation is in order, and that same is available for inspection on request.

5. The Decree also creates a Balearic Register of Charterers and Yachts, in which all owners who have submitted Declarations of Responsibility will be recorded and registered. This is an attempt by the authorities to curb and control illegal charter activity in the Balearics.

We will keep you advised of developments relating to the implementation of this legislation as and when it occurs.