BY Ryan Swift on 13 Apr 2023

YH Fang, one of Singapore’s leading superyacht support agents, says that business remains off thanks to sanctions related to the Russia-Ukraine war

The return of visiting superyachts to Singapore after the relaxation of Covid restrictions has been hampered by international sanctions related to the war in Ukraine, says YH Fang, founder and owner of Yachting Singapore, a yacht agency focusing on shore support and project services for superyachts.

Fang says he had high expectations for new visits with many enquires at the beginning of 2022, all in anticipation of the lifting of border restrictions. Actual traffic has been much less than expected as larger superyachts in the 80-plus metre category have sought shelter in other jurisdictions.

The government of Singapore has joined the US, the EU and Japan in imposing a sanctions regime on Russia in the wake of its invasion of the Ukraine.

Fang, a former officer in the Singaporean Navy, is hopeful that superyacht traffic to the region may increasingly come to Southeast Asia from the Americas rather than from Europe.

“We are seeing more yachts coming from the Pacific (Americas) which is a good surprise. I think our industry colleagues in Fiji, PNG and Indonesia are doing a good job in enticing these yachts to venture further west,” Fang says.

Read: Amels 55m Driftwood begins charters in Fiji

The steady growth in explorer or expedition yachts is also good news for Singapore. “These types of superyachts are right up our alley in terms of repair capabilities. They tend not to stay in a place like Singapore for too long, which is ideal as berths are limited. Singapore’s ability to offer fast turnround for bunkering and uplifting of ship stores are very appealing to such yachts.”

Meanwhile, Covid restrictions may be a thing of the past, but Fang says the legacy of the yacht buying boom in Singapore has taken up marina berthing space, leaving little room for future visiting superyachts.

“During Covid, yacht sales sort of exploded (in Singapore),” Fang says. “A yacht was a great idea for gathering of family and friends outside the confine of their homes. However, these yachts don’t really sail and are now taking up all the berths resulting in serious berth shortage for visiting yachts.”

Singapore’s status as a hub port and its maritime industry offer great technical and logistical support for superyachts and their owners wanting to cruise Southeast Asia, and the city-state has been trying to develop maintenance and repair services for private jets and helicopters.

However, the pressing need for berthing spaces for yachts between 60 and 90 metres remains, Fang says.