Gibraltar Maritime’s 2020

Mar 11 2021

This year the Gibraltar maritime sector made a great contribution to the crew changes challenge, offered face to face tuition in its university, had steady business in dry docks, and saw some expansion in services.

The International Ship Managers’ Association (InterManager) credits Gibraltar for how well it supported crew changes during COVID.


“I have checked with our members and all are singing praises,” says Captain Kuba Szymanski, secretary general of InterManager.


“Gibraltar is well suited and geared up to do crew changes. Gibraltar should be thanked for their attitude and support extended to shipping and our seafarers. More leaders like Gibraltar please.”


“I wish Singapore was that pragmatic.  Very much comparable situation and location and two very different approaches.”


Seafarers were allowed to enter Gibraltar throughout 2020, to board a ship from an aircraft, or leave a ship to board an aircraft. They needed to have a passport and a Letter of Employment or Letter of Guarantee from the shipping company, but no visas required provided they were flying from Gibraltar. A shipping agent was required to meet the crew at the port or airport and handle transportation.


A limitation was the number of flights available out of Gibraltar (for example in November there were only 2 flights a week to London with BA), although there was plenty of hotel space available.


There are two nearby airports in Spain, Malaga, and Sevilla, but Schengen transit visas were needed to fly through these.



The University of Gibraltar offers a course “BSc (Hons) Maritime Science (Nautical) with Deck Cadetship programme” and “BSc (Hons) Maritime Science (Engineering) with Engineer Cadetship programme”, both 3 years.


It also offers an online course “BSc (Hons) Maritime Science (Engineering)”  and “BSc (Hons) Maritime Science (Nautical)”.


Early 2021 brings the launch of basic STCW and STCW refresher courses.  


In the medium term, the Gibraltar Maritime Academy hopes to offer a full range of maritime training courses including specialist yacht-related training and LNG courses.


The University of Gibraltar says it saw enrolments of 200 students across all its courses in September 2020, compared to 120 last year. It says the growth is in part because it is offering face to face classes, where most universities around the world are doing virtual classes.


As Gibraltar is part of the UK, most of the students are British, but there were 20 non UK students, from Canada, Guatemala, Germany, Nigeria, Italy, Austria, Netherlands, Morocco, Spain and the USA.


Tuition fees for the Maritime Science (Nautical) with Deck Cadetship programme are £9250 for UK/EU students and £12500 for non UK/EU, plus additional fees for the cadetship. Self-catered accommodation is available for £150/ week.



In October 2020, shipyard Gibdock said that ship repair activity was "rock solid", with high occupancy levels and scheduled dry dockings booked into 2021.


Much of the work over the summer was with offshore support vessels and seismic survey vessels. Also environmental refits, including installation of scrubbers and ballast water systems.


Richard Beards, managing director of Gibdock, described Gibraltar as a "tight knit business community", with close relationships with the Port Authority, the Director of Public Health, ship agents, hotels and transport providers.


Sandvik Electronics

Sandvik Marine Electronics of Gibraltar reports that it has 150 vessels signed up for its shore based maintenance (SBM) service to receive complete technical management of all of the equipment on the bridge, including 24 hour support and worldwide service.


Its engineers can complete any tasks onboard whether about navigation, communication or connectivity, the company says. New clients include Synergy of Mumbai and Thomas Schulte Shipmanagement of Hamburg.


As an example of the services, at the time of writing in early November it had one technician flying out to Malaysia to assist with LNG Enugu and LNG Oyo in a shipyard, with the trip requiring a 2 week quarantine stay in a hotel before being allowed to attend.


It has added the Korean Register to the list of class societies for which it performs “long approvals” for radio and voyage data records.


“Business has been steady in 2020 but now getting back to normal,” says John M King, World Service Manager with Sandvik.



According to Gibraltar government statistics, there were 435 vessels per month on average calling in Gibraltar for bunkering during 2020. This is a small decline from 449 per month during 2019 and 486 during 2018.


In July 2020, bunker supplier Monjasa Ltd published a notice in the Gibraltar Gazette stating that it intended to apply for a "port operator license", as a bunkering operator.


Shell announced plans to apply for a LNG bunkering license in Gibraltar in July 2019.


It follows Shell and Gasnor opening a LNG regasification terminal in Gibraltar in May 2019, enabling Gibraltar state to switch from power generation by diesel to power generation by gas, with a new 80MW gas fired plant.


The LNG for ship fuel is taken directly from the LNG delivery vessel, not from the shore LNG storage for the power generation.


“E-closed” tanker handed over

One of the first tanker ships to be purchased remotely, the 40,000 Cape Beira (now renamed Rolls I”, was handed over in Gibraltar in May 2020.


The transaction was handed by Zoom, with online release of all documentation including exchange of guarantees, payments and confirmation.


It involved a seller in Singapore, a buyer in Monaco, a buyer’s bank in Switzerland, the seller’s bank in Hamburg, the attorneys of the buyer in Genoa, and attorneys of seller in Singapore.


The vessel is owned by international investors and managed by Sea World Management.


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