21 AUGUST 2002
Two major projects underway, the Cottonera Waterfront Development and the Tigne´ Point/ Manoel Island project, are set to boost Maltas appeal as an international yachting centre and both are placing a distinct emphasis on attracting high-spending owners of super-yachts.
One of the first sub-projects due to see the light of day as part of the development being undertaken by the Cottonera Waterfront Project and Port Cottonera Limited is the yacht marina, which is due for completion by June of next year or slightly earlier.
When contacted by The Malta Financial and Business Times recently, an official from Grand Harbour Marina Limited explained the project would go a long way toward satisfying demand from the yachting sector.
He comments, "With current demand for berthing spaces running high, even following the provision of increased facilities; there is still a shortage of mooring places. The recent availability of Dockyard Creek, however, home of Grand Harbour Marina, now under the operation of Camper and Nicholsons, will help to overcome this current shortfall of berth availability and offer dedicated mooring and service facilities to yachts between eight and 100 metres length.
"For many years Dockyard Creek has been mooted as an ideal location for a marina. A number of schemes and various development proposals have come and gone, but at last, thanks to the will of Government and the successful establishment of a suitably qualified Consortium, development has got underway.
"Work started on this new jewel in the crown for Malta earlier last year under the control of a development consortium comprising the Cottonera Waterfront Group and Port Cottonera. Both these bodies were formed from respected professionals and local businessmen alike. As the marina was to play a major part in the development, forming the catalyst for the refurbishment and change of uses of the buildings onshore, Camper and Nicholsons was appointed as its developer and manager. From 5 September 2001, Grand Harbour Marina Limited, a company formed by Camper and Nicholsons, and local business interests, assumed operation of the marina.
"Grand Harbour Marina will be special. It will be a two-centre operation. Firstly, a marina providing berths for the large market sector of yachts in the 10 25 metre length category, and secondly, it is set to become a specialist port to serve super yachts, with upwards of 40 berths for vessels between 30 and 100 metres in length. To effectively service the latter vessels it is hoped to attract a large and varied range of support businesses within the refurbished buildings ashore. Malta already has a good reputation in respect to the handling and support of cruising super yachts. There are good yard facilities and an abundance of experienced agencies.
"On the back of this reputation, and working alongside key local marine businesses Camper and Nicholsons hope to attract resident super yachts to Malta. Within the short time of taking over control of the marina one super yacht contract has already been agreed and others are under negotiation.
"Along from St Angelo Wharf one will find the Boat Camber, a small enclosed dock to be spanned by a new bridge linking the wharves of St Angelo and Vittoriosa. In the Camber it is planned to have moorings for the colourful traditional local boats, and to use this water space for special events and displays. On Vittoriosa Wharf there will be further berthing spaces for another 10 super yachts, and beyond that on Bakery, Xatt Ir- Risq, and Machinery Wharves there will be a mixture of pontoon moorings and stern-to berths for boats up to 25 metres. In summary the berthing mix will comprise around 240 berths for vessels up to 25 metres plus 40 super yacht berths between 35 metres and 100 metres.
"A lot of research has gone into the design of Grand Harbour Marina. There will be fixed moorings for the large yachts, which will be approved and certified by ABS. The latest pontoon technology will be used to provide the floating moorings. Together this will ensure the safety of moored vessels, whilst having a minimal impact on the Eco-structure of the seabed and any buried artefacts there may be therein."
All berths will be supplied with adequate power, water and telecommunication etc. Power supplies on the super yacht berths will range from 63 to 250 amps three phase. There will be all the usual standard features one would expect from an international marina such as high tech security monitoring, dirty water disposal receptacles, first class washrooms, and a service that will be second to none.
Meanwhile the development of the Tigne´ Point and Manoel Island will add some 350 further berths to Maltas existing complement of yachting facilities. A company spokesman said that the marina, which is already operational "will accommodate boats of up to 80 metres in length with a maximum draught of 5 metres on sixty modern floating pontoons. Summer mooring for large yachts will also be provided on the quay in front of the east Lazzarretto block."
"The berths will be fully equipped with all services such as water, electricity, telephones and cable television for the berthed yachts. There will be showers available. The pontoons are equipped with fire-fighting equipment and close-circuit TV. Repair, dry-docking and other facilities are available close at hand, along with docks and slip-ways for yachts up to 155 metres in length."
These developments bode well for the future of Maltas yachting industry and the cottage industries servicing it, another instance of the quality class of tourism sought after by Maltas tourism operators.