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2021 March April Marina World

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The magazine for the marina industry

REGIONAL FOCUS The

REGIONAL FOCUS The number of new boats afloat in Sochi is on the increase, partly due to the success of Sochi Grand Marina (below). tourism,” said Ekaterina Kodzasova, spokesperson for the Russian Club for Strategic Initiatives. “But there is virtually nowhere to moor yachts in Russia. There are no fully fledged marinas so owners anchor their yachts in Turkey, for example, where coastal marinas are close together, and they pay rather large fees there. It would be logical for a Russian citizen to moor his yacht in Russia,” she added. Over the past few years, private investors have been reluctant to put their money into building new marinas in Russia. For this reason, the authorities are offering to turn around new projects in a brand new format - a public-private partnership. “Since there is a need to establish an entire infrastructure, we are talking about a public-private partnership, where two-thirds of the costs are met by the state and a third by a private investor. The minimum cost of the smallest marina in the region is about 24 billion roubles (US0 million). Under the proposed scheme, the payback period of the project for private investors is estimated to be limited to four years,” Kodzasova said. Given the considerable attraction of this as an investment, building marinas in the south of Russia is also of interest to foreign investors. Some unnamed European and Chinese companies have reportedly been mulling over participation in building new marinas in this part of the country. However, no official plans have as yet been declared. A hope for easing rules There are, however, possibly more pitfalls in the project than appear at first glance. In Russia, yachting is hampered by several administrative barriers. For instance, in both Krasnodar Krai and Sochi most yacht moorings are located within seaport boundaries, and the legislation applicable to cargo and passenger ships also applies to all small vessels calling at the ports. This means that boat owners also have to pay port dues and obtain a sailing permit. “There are some crucial legal gaps as many regulatory documents that govern yacht tourism are based on Soviet era regulations when there was no commercial use of yachts at all,” said Konstantin Murugov, president of the Black Sea Association for Yacht Tourism and Sports Development. “A lot of difficulties also arise because the entire Black Sea coast is under border control. All ships must be registered with the border service, and every passage out to sea must be agreed upon at least two hours in advance. We have prepared an official letter with a proposal to move the border control zone at least two miles away so that small boats can freely navigate along the coast,” Murugov said. This has already been approved in Crimea, but the decision for Krasnodar Krai is pending. Another stumbling block for the development of yachting tourism is the lack of boatbuilding in Russia. One can currently purchase a boat in Turkey at a reasonable price, but customs duties and taxes could increase the cost by at least 50%. A lot of yachtsmen in Turkey are thus actually of Russian origin. Local industry unions are eager to change this situation and urge the government to cut import duties. In previous years, Russian government officials expressed confidence that the south of Russia would one day be integrated into the European Union’s marina network, the idea being that a person could hire a boat in Greece and make a comfortable journey through Turkey, Romania and Ukraine to Russia, and beyond to the Caucasus. However, it is unlikely to happen in the coming years. Crimea is still considered as unrecognised territory, with no foreign business. The region is subjected to harsh international sanctions and Ukraine authorities have made it very clear they would never agree to any sort of compromise on the status of the peninsula, which they see as “temporarily occupied territory.” This makes the prospect of yachting development in the region rather vague. www.marinaworld.com – March/April 2021 23

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