SEAS THE DAY: Making Gibraltar your yachting port of choice

on Tuesday, 04 June 2019. Posted in Petrospot News

Llewellyn Bankes-Hughes, Petrospot Managing Director / Publisher, June 2019

gibraltar port authority

Whilst Gibraltar has long been a popular port of call and bunkering location for large ships in the Mediterranean, a new marina development has brought this ideally-located berthing and refuelling spot to the forefront of the international yachting community.

This Mediterranean destination boasts a recently opened new marina space for yachts, where instead of creating a traditional marina with revetment, the port decided to create a wharf with a vertical outer wall with casings, in order that they could develop and attract larger superyachts alongside smaller vessels.

The original Ocean Village and Marina Bay includes over 200 fully serviced berths, which can accommodate vessels up to 100m in length with a draft of 4.5m. A reasonably sized marina for an international port, it is able to welcome most vessels, whilst the slightly smaller Queensway Quay Marina features 185 fully serviced berths which accommodate eight vessels up to 30m LOA, and two at 40m LOA, with an additional 75m of berthing space available.

In addition, nestled in the relatively protected area of the inner harbour, Gibraltar’s newest marina is the star attraction of the port for the very largest superyachts. The new and improved facilities boast 500m of dedicated superyacht berthing at seven metres deep. Even small cruise liners have booked in and used the space here!

“As far as the superyacht industry is concerned, Gibraltar has become a port of choice rather than a port of convenience” says Captain of the Port, Manuel Tirado.

“In the past, yachts would come in, take on bunkers and leave. Now, yacht owners are prolonging their stays and ensuring they service their vessels and their crews can have some time off to enjoy themselves in an area where there is plenty to do. We are also very competitively priced in comparison to the other Mediterranean ports.”

With a well-established reputation for affordable fuel in a convenient location, Gibraltar’s challenge has long been how to entice owners to remain in the port beyond bunkering completion – whether that’s for repair, refurbishment, maintenance or crewing.

Operating as a service economy, the port has always shown itself able and willing to not only demand, but predict growth too. There are a range of highly skilled reputable companies based in port for ship and yacht repair and with the airport only a five-minute journey from any berth, it’s a simple task to supply engineers and technicians to owners.

Crew changes, supplies and provisions are also easy to manage, with a multitude of ship chandlers and provisioners operating locally and duty-free shopping proving popular with crews. Local and nearby Spanish airports provide great connections for international crew changes, not to mention the opportunity for issuing letters of guarantee for temporary visits or full visa applications.

With a notable jump in superyacht traffic around Gibraltar in the last twelve months, the port has enjoyed a real metamorphosis into a popular yachting destination in its own right. “The commissioning of over 500m of deep water berths exclusively for superyachts has dramatically improved Gibraltar’s ability to accommodate the largest yachts afloat,” said Previous Captain of Gibraltar Port, Commodore Bob Sanguinetti. “This, together with improvements to the bunkering infrastructure, and wide range of facilities, services and attractions for the crew has clearly made the Rock an increasingly popular hub, as reflected by the rising number of superyacht calls.”

The new berths, competitively priced fuel and local infrastructure have pushed Gibraltar up the superyacht list of hotspots, and with crew changes, re-provisioning, and local attractions available, it is brilliant for the hard working teams at the port to see their endeavours paying off with great success.