Beneteau, Dufour suspend production; IMCI certification slowdown; ASMEX cancelled



Coronavirus slows down IMCI certifications
by Robert Wielaard

The Brussels-based International Marine Certification Institute (IMCI) says the coronavirus pandemic is slowing down, but not halting its inspections of watercraft and their components.

In a notice to clients, IMCI says the spreading coronavirus has led its inspectors and office staff to embrace the requisite safety measures, including working remotely.

“This does not mean the work is at rest, but that the processing will unfortunately take a little longer than we are all used to,” IMCI CEO Uli Heinemann says in the notice. “The IMCI office in the EU is nonetheless staffed on a daily basis, albeit with a smaller team. Full communication is ensured as usual.”

IMCI’s core business is to certify that in the European Union watercraft and their components comply with the EU Recreational Craft Directive’s technical, safety and environmental norms. These apply to recreational craft of 2.5m-24m (8ft-79ft), personal and converted watercraft and marine components and engines.

For the US market, IMCI certifies if boats there comply with the norms of the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). For offshore sailing yachts, IMCI checks compliance with the World Sailing Offshore Special Regulations.



Beneteau adopts “exceptional measures”

Due to the Covid-19 epidemic’s progression and the necessary measures taken by the public authorities to protect people’s health, Groupe Beneteau says it has taken the decision to temporarily suspend its boat and leisure home construction activities in France and Italy.

”Activities at our production units in the US and Poland have slowed down to date, but have not been shut down,” says the company in a statement.

“In this exceptional situation facing our country and all our employees, this suspension of activity is necessary. We are taking all possible measures to ensure the protection of our employees in all countries and to help ensure a quick resumption of our activities as soon as the situation allows us to do so,” says Beneteau chairman and CEO Jérôme de Metz.

The presentation of Beneteau’s strategic plan, scheduled for April 29, will be deferred to a subsequent date.

Beneteau’s share price sank to €4.90 on Monday – its lowest level since 2006 and down approximately 50% for the year, although it has recovered somewhat today, up to €6.41 in mid-day trading.


Dufour suspends production

Dufour Yachts has decided to suspend the activity of its production while the pandemic spread is under control and with a regular review according to the decisions of French government. “We hope that it will be as short as possible. The sales and communication teams, supply and customer services remain reachable and continue to work safely to provide the best services as possible during this period,” says the company in a statement.

“We are aware of the impact this may have on partners and customers and we thank you for your understanding and international solidarity. We can assure you that our teams are mobilised to find solutions to minimise the impacts linked to this global health crisis. Today, the main thing is to brave this virus all together and our teams are already working to best prepare for the return to full activity. Sales and communication teams, supply and customer service stay at your disposal for any requirement. Even if the supplies and delivery will certainly be very disturbed and we count on your understanding.”

Dufour says that all current orders will be honoured and all boats delivered. “We will inform you of the new delivery date with a new planning, as soon as we have visibility on the end of the health crisis.”


By Manos Roudas

Despite concerns about the quickly changing nature of the coronavirus outbreak throughout the Mediterranean, Greek brokers are keen to reassure charterers that a yacht can provide the safest holiday option, providing an excellent alternative to high-end hotels, cruises, resort and villa holidays.

Nevertheless, Greece will be in total lockdown for the next two weeks at least, after the government decided to impose a series of strict measures to halt the spread of the coronavirus across the country. Effective today (Wednesday 18), following a decision by the prime minister, all retail stores will be compelled to close down, except supermarkets and pharmacies. Secretary General for Civil Protection Nikos Chardalias also announced last night that all Greek ports and marinas will be closed to all yachts outside the EU. For those that arrive anyway, there will be a 14 days quarantine, so passengers will have to remain onboard.


ASMEX – cancelled
18-20 May, Sanctuary Cove, QLD, Australia

Following an Extraordinary AIMEX Board Meeting to discuss the developing situation of COVID-19, a decision has been made to cancel the Australian Superyacht, Marine Export & Commercial Marine Industry Conference (ASMEX) for 2020.

ASMEX organisers, the Australian International Marine Export Group (AIMEX), the Australian Commercial Marine Group (ACMG) and Superyacht Australia stated that the health and well-being of their members, sponsors, speakers, staff and other stakeholders is their top priority.

With the Australian Prime Minister’s announcement this morning, Wednesday 18 March, declaring an indefinite ban on indoor gatherings of 100 people or more, has prevented ASMEX 2020. Ticket holders will be contacted shortly regarding a refund.

The Australian Marine Industry Awards will still be awarded this year. The application period has now been extended with a closing date of 30 June 2020 and the format for their announcement currently being revised and rescheduled for later in the calendar year.