MARIGOT–A delegation from French-side marine trades association Metimer has reported fruitful meetings with ministers, professionals and institutions at the Paris Boat Show where St. Martin has a stand.
One year after being invited as guest of honour at the nautical show, Métimer was invited again by the Federation of Nautical Industries (FIN) to give a presentation on the situation of yachting and facilities in St. Martin some 15 months after Hurricane Irma.
The delegation comprised Metimer President Bülent Gülay, Secretary Brigitte Delaître, Coordinator Alexina Paya, member Florence Jouvin, and Director of Sunsail/Moorings Emmanuel Allot whose charter company was heavily impacted by the hurricane at its base in Oyster Pond, but has resumed its activities at Marina Fort Louis.
Minister of Overseas Territories Annick Girardin, reportedly preferring to visit the boat show on Monday morning rather than attend the crisis meeting held at the Elysée Palace, stopped at the St. Martin stand where she had a long discussion with President Gülay.
The project for deconstruction of boat wrecks, a project close to both Girardin’s and Métimer’s hearts, was mentioned as well as the need to rebuild the marinas. Recently on the island, Girardin regretted the slow progress of reconstruction, but was pleased to see a real recovery in tourism, due in particular to the willingness of some tourists to come and support the island’s economy.
Gülay met Girardin again at a luncheon hosted by FIN in her honour. Representatives of the National Cluster, New Caledonia and Reunion Island were there. They were very concerned by the difficulty, if not impossibility, for boating professionals to insure their boats in hurricane zones, but also by the increase in premiums, up from 30 to 100 per cent. The National Cluster has committed to discussing this issue with the Federation of Nautical Insurance.
A representative of the Adapted Military Regiment (RSMA) at the national level, which records success with professional training of young people in various trades, said RSMA intends to enter the nautical world further diversify its training.
Sunsail Moorings Director Allot highlighted and deplored the “thousands” of sheets of administrative paperwork imposed on young people wishing to pursue a maritime career and made the authorities aware of this issue, which has not yet been taken into account.
To introduce a cheerful note at the end of the lunch, Métimer showed a video of the recent Sea Discovery Day, an excursion that allowed 250 young St. Martiners to enjoy the joys of the sea aboard boats provided by the association’s members on a sail to Tintamarre Island. The video was very well received by the audience. Girardin said she was going to propose this event to the whole of the French territory.
She informed Gülay of her next trip to St. Martin in February 2019 to work on the current issues.