Palma is considered one of the best refit and repair centres in the world. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter - T. AYUGA


Palma has gained a reputation for being one of the most professional refit and repair destinations for the nautical industry in the world, but the sector is facing a serious problem; the shipyards are running out of space and this is leading to a serious loss of revenue.

Talks have been ongoing for years about expanding the shipyards in order to meet growing demand and also being able to handle larger super yachts, but it appears that little ground has been gained.

The Association for the Development of Nautical Businesses and the Self-Employed (ADNEA), has made a fresh appeal for the problem to be solved, and quickly, because the “situation is dire” and is threatening “its future”.

The association’s president, Álex Casares, has called for an “urgent change of plan” and this has been supported by the president of the small business association PIMEM, Jordi Mora.

This is the second time in recent months that the sector has raised the issue.
However, the situation is becoming increasingly serious since winter is the industry’s peak season and there does not appear to be any help on the horizon.
And, until there is, the Balearic yachting industry could lose up to 80 million euros a year due to the lack of space for maintenance and repair of boats.

The sector warns that it is losing competitiveness and its excellent reputation because yachts are being forced to go to other Spanish and European ports.

“This is the first winter season that we have not had enough space,” complains Casares.
Mora, for his part, regrets that “after we have lost industries such as footwear and leather, now the nautical industry, with its world-class reputation is in danger.”

Casares said that around 100 yachts have been lost and the danger is that they may never return to Palma and this will have a seriously negative impact on the local nautical industry, employment and income for the local economy.

It appears that the APB Balearic Port Authority is well aware of the situation and understands the frustration but it is only willing to commit to an extension of the STP shipyard, for example, until October 2025, and only if STP can take care of the costs of the necessary extra infrastructure.

Apart from attracting highly skilled professionals from across the world, scores of local businesses depend on the nautical industry and steps have been made to try and train more local residents so they can work in the sector which has been enjoying rapid growth.

However the future of the Balearic nautical sector, especially in Palma which is gearing up for the annual international boat show, appears to be heading into choppy waters.
And, it is not only the shipyards which are in massive demand, so too are the ports and marina but the lack of new moorings is another problem the industry is having to face.

Moorings, or rather lack of, were a problem again last year. Luxury yachts were forced to moor off some of the most popular marinas, and the current government has slapped a ban on extending marinas and increasing moorings for the next 15 years, although that may change should there be a change of government.

The nautical industry is the second most important to the Balearics, but the industry as a whole needs more room to expand in order to meet demand and create more local jobs and boost the economy even more, nautical sector experts have said.