La Ciotat Shipyards – reversal in French Social Security covering non-resident crew on foreign flagged vessels

An administrative arrangement which entered into force in July 2017 imposed a compulsory registration with ENIM (French special social security regime for seafarers) for crew employed on any large yacht flying a foreign flag and making port calls in France for a period of more than three months.

For nearly a year, La Ciotat Shipyards and especially its President Mr. Patrick Boré, Mayor of La Ciotat, has been campaigning together with the French Nautical Industries Federation (FIN) against this measure which heavily penalised the superyacht refit sector. As a result of this efforts the administrative arrangement has been reformed, leaving the door open to the global ambitions of La Ciotat Shipyards.

In letters to Bruno Le Maire, Minister of Economy and Finance, and Elizabeth Borne, Minister of Transport, Patrick Boré warns of the potentially disastrous economic consequences of this measure.

“The situation was particularly worrying for La Ciotat Shipyards, which is investing heavily to establish itself as the world leader for refit of megayachts (80m+),” said Patrick Boré. “Indeed, the refit of megayachts imposes long stopovers for crews of several dozen people. They were therefore particularly concerned by this measure. During the 2017-2018 season we experienced a 20% decrease in our activity, which affected all operators of the shipyard! And of course, this decrease in activity has also had serious consequences on the employment of local labour since, for the record, nearly 2,000 people work on-site in the high season.”

Combining his efforts with those of Yves Lyon-Caen on behalf of the French Nautical Industries Federation, Patrick Boré was received by the Prime Minister’s Office where he stressed the particular issues relating to the development of the yacht refit sector. It is therefore with great satisfaction that La Ciotat Shipyards notes that the new instructions issued by ENIM take into account the arguments of the industry. These instructions mandate a special exemption for crew on vessels during periods in which they are undergoing works in shipyards. They are no longer required to register with ENIM, regardless of the duration of the technical stop, as long as they do not reside on French territory.

According to Patrick Boré it is a great victory, not only for La Ciotat Shipyards, but also for the entire industrial sector in France: “Our intervention in partnership with the French Nautical Industries Federation has helped to expedite the processing of this case and to voice the specific issues of the refit sector compared to other activities related to yachting. Shipyards are different from marinas. It is a great relief for La Ciotat Shipyards, their on-site operators and employees, but also for our loyal customers, who we know will renew their confidence in us next season. The reform of this measure will also enable us to work more confidently on our goal of becoming the world leader in the refit of megayachts.”

From 2017 to 2022, 100 million euros is being invested in order for La Ciotat Shipyards to become the point of reference worldwide for the refit and maintenance of megayachts.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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