Friday, May 23, 2014

End of late payments and abandoned boats in the Balearic ports

The current Law of Ports will put an end to almost 10 years of demands by the Balearic nautical sector. The local government has been working nearly a year on the modification of the current normative, approved in 2005, to regulate the infrastructures under the regional competency, and the new text is almost ready. It has already been registered in the Parliament and has the backing of the whole industry: marinas, yacht clubs and the government itself. On Friday the last amendments were added before the parliamentary process.

The absolute majority of the PP in Parliament guarantees that the process won´t get disrupted. It will go ahead with all the corrections and important changes. The most prominent one deals with the measures in case of abandoned vessels and late payments in the ports of indirect management on the islands, an issue that has caused a lot of problems for the yacht clubs and marinas, and nearly 10 years of complaints about it. The amendment was presented by Popular Party representative in the Parliament, Carlos Veramendi.

From now on, the vessels, vehicles and other objects that stay more than six months in the service area of any regional port without "any detectable sign of activity or without the owners having paid the corresponding fees and tariffs" will be declared abandoned. It is a process in which the boat in question will end up auctioned, so that the space can be occupied by somebody who is up to date with payments.

This introduces an important novelty, as previously it was very difficult to localize some owners, which made it possible to leave abandoned boats for years in water without anybody being able to do anything about it. Now, after being declared abandoned, these boats can be taken out of the water and the situation rectified, for the satisfaction of the sector. It is calculated that there are actually about 300 abandoned yachts in the Balearics.

But this is not the only novelty to be included in the normative. The new concession period will be increased from the current 30 years to 35, the same as in the rest of the country. And the existing concessions have the possibility to extend to the same number of years.

The law will introduce also the so called right of first refusal in tenders regarding substantial extensions. Previously, when an extension of more than 33% was to take place, there had to be a public tender and the current concession holder could lose it. Now he will have the first purchase option for the price offered by a third party, as detailed in the draft of law.

The text depicts also in the article 70 a fee for the "transfer of right to use a mooring in ports under concession". Additionally, all ports will be obliged to keep a registry of the users and "specially of the transfers of rights of use".

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