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2017 Nov Dec Marina World

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MARKET FOCUS: CENTRAL ASIA The layout of Yelken Yacht Club shows extensive surrounding property development. Both clubs feature a marina designed for 40 yachts with all infrastructure necessary to protect boats from the high waves of the Caspian Sea. According to official information, the marina also has cranes with a lift capacity of 70 tons, and service hangars and a warehouse for boat storage located close to the berths. Turkmenistan is also currently considering the construction of several new marinas within the Avaza Aqua Park; a project designed by Dutch company Julien De Smedt Architects. The 90,000m² (968,752ft²) facility will feature hotels, malls and several yacht clubs within a complex that could cost around €3 billion to build. Turkmenistan authorities do not as a rule disclose the details of projects even when they are already implemented, so most aspects associated with the Avaza Aqua Park remain behind closed doors. In general, it is believed that the new complex will include several marinas for a total of 200-300 yachts but the construction schedule has not yet been released so no one knows when the new complex will be built. No one cares in Kazakhstan In Kazakhstan, several yacht clubs have been struggling in recent years to secure some important amendments to national legislation, which doesn’t offer a way for regional authorities to grant seabed leases for the construction of marinas. Alexander Lavrinov, head of the Briz Yacht Club in the city of Aktau, explained that in 2015 a group of yacht clubs sent a joint letter to the country’s former Prime Minister Karim Massimov, asking him to deal with the gaps in legislation and help to build new marinas. Massimov responded that “there were no gaps in legislation”, claiming that the regional authorities had all the necessary tools to approve such projects. The regional officials, however, chose to ignore this and the issue has so far failed to gain traction. While the sea ports in Aktau are actively being expanded without any problems, the yacht clubs have no means of obtaining permission to build any new infrastructure at all, Lavrinov complained. “This situation is becoming truly ridiculous, especially as there is an investor who has expressed his readiness several times to pump money into the construction of a big marina for the city,” he commented. “The second problem is that to put to sea on a yacht you need to obtain “a dozen” stamps and permissions from different government agencies,” Lavrinov said. At the moment, the adjacent sea in Kazakhstan is divided into six zones and the yachtsman has to apply to each zone for a separate permission. There is only one large marina in the city and this belongs to Briz Yacht Club. It was built in 2009, designed for 200 yachts and is located in a natural bay with a breakwater to the west. It is clear that this is not enough to develop yachting in Kazakhstan. However, yachtsmen admit that it is hard to believe there will be any positive developments in the industry in coming years, simply because nowadays the authorities don’t care about it at all. High waves in Azerbaijan The marina industry is no further developed in Azerbaijan. To a large extent, this is due to memories of the flood in 1991 when a sudden rise in water level in the Caspian Sea destroyed shoreside infrastructure and any marinas that were operating in Baku Bay. Among others, the flood destroyed the facilities at Baku Yacht Club; the oldest in the region. Originally established in 1889 and operating for more than a century, the Club had become one of the most important tourist destinations in Baku and was thus a significant loss. Despite this, the city authorities only started to revive the yacht club in the early 2000s and it was rebuilt in 2004 featuring a marina for nearly 50 boats. It Not just an oasis, the Caspian Sea can be a volatile sailing location where gentle breezes swiftly whip up into strong storms. 56 - November/December 2017

MARKET FOCUS: CENTRAL ASIA Baku in Azerbaijan has a long established yachting tradition but most of its marinas were destroyed by floods in 1991. is currently not only the largest marina in the city, but the largest in the whole of Azerbaijan. According to Rashid Azarov, spokesman for the national tourism agency, yachting in Azerbaijan, as well as in the entire Caspian region, is rather poorly developed. The lack of yachts, in turn, hampers the development of infrastructure, creating “a vicious cycle”. With a lack of both marinas and fuelling stations along the coastline, small boats cannot travel too far from Baku, and small boats coming from Russia or Georgia cannot make their way along the coast to Azerbaijan either. Additionally, easier visa requirements for boat owners might be required to promote the development of yachting in the Caspian Sea, Azarov suggested. “A similar approach has been successfully applied in other regions of the world,” he said. “The marina industry is tied to nautical tourism so countries of the region should jointly think about how to develop it,” he concluded. “This would eventually be to everyone’s benefit.” Dagestan dreams of first marina According to Dina Bermurzaeva, spokesman of Russia’s Emergency Ministry, government agencies have been trying to find an investor to build a first marina in the Republic of Dagestan but with no success. The problem is that there are only 15 yachts registered in the region and this is clearly not enough even to justify a small investment project. The situation might, however, change due to the efforts of the private entrepreneur Arib Magomevod, who recently established a boat building company in the republic. Based in a workshop located at a former ship repair facility in the sea port of Makhachkala, Magomevod has already built one yacht and currently has two new boats in build. Several local media reports indicate that Magomevod’s project has sparked interest amongst potential investors for the construction of marinas in Makhachkala. Marina projects could be in the pipeline. VISIT US AT THE METS AMSTERDAM STAND NO. 05.407 “Seven minutes and twenty-eight seconds” - November/December 2017 57

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