Since opening its doors to the world, Albania is still adjusting for those who want to explore its rich coastline. Based between Montenegro and Northern Greece, Albania boasts the Adriatic coastline, also known as the Albanian Riviera, which is a stretch of sandy beaches, mysterious mountains, fertile land, ancient Greek sites and excellent seafood.
The exciting and rich opportunities offered by the Adriatic coastline are well known by yacht agent Silvia Dedja from RYacht Services, who has been sharing her knowledge on the splendours offered by Albania to superyacht tourists over the past eight years. “Perini Navi’s Heritage and MoMo by Mangusta Overmarine were the first superyachts I recommended a visit to my country to. This was when captains were told to stay only 12 miles away from the coast,” explains Dedja. To stay too far from the coast of Albania would mean yachts miss out on the duty-free fuel offered throughout the country.
Photo: Perini NaviWhen Albania first began offering duty-free fuel in the summer of 2016, the ports of Durres, Vlorë and Saranda drew in a number of eager yachties keen to fill up their tanks with good quality fuel at a low price - the 39.65-metre Mangusta 130 superyacht MoMo being one of them. “In 2014 l decided to go to Albania following Silvia’s advice and brought my owner to visit Albania. It was a fantastic experience in times that very few yachts were navigating in Albanian waters,” says Captain Paolo Bozzo Costa, former captain of MoMo. “Who would have thought that after two years, due to the duty-free fuel, Albania would become so well-known to the yachting industry.”
Photo: RYachtsThe work of the Kastrati Group, a petroleum company based in Albania, has been instrumental in supporting the increasing number of visiting yachts. As Albania’s fuel business grows, Kastrati supports the long-term economic growth, prosperity and progress of the region, as well as caring for the environment. The Group trades fuel and offers bunkering services as well as providing yachts in the main ports with quality fuel via their new Mercedes tankers, that with a flow rate of 700-800 lt/min, make the fuelling process easy and efficient.
“I used Kastrati Company for fuel bunker during my first call in Albania port of Durres and I would highly recommend them for bunkering services,” shares Captain Tomi Holer, captain of Sputnik. “The entire operation was very well organized and quick and fuel was of a high quality.” In addition to being able to enjoy inexpensive fuel and bunkering services, Albania has also drawn in more visitors who are keen to stay explore what else the country has to offer - especially as Albania does not charge charter tax or have any restrictions on the duration of charting in its waters.
Photo: RYachtsChartering in Albania is becoming increasingly more accessible as charter companies fly their clients into Tirana international Airport - which is only 35 minutes away from the Port of Durres. Other connections include Corfu - which is approximately 14 nautical miles away - or Albania’s new southern airport which is currently in construction in Vlorë. For example, the owners of the 33m superyacht Incontatto John and Sue Laithwaite flew into the International airport before cruising the coastline of Albania. “We loved the day through Butrinti and we enjoyed every minute,” they said. “The meal at Demi was exceptional and the VIP table and chairs are such a great touch. Visiting Albania was a fantastic experience.”
The 62-metre superyacht Apogee recently started and finished her charter in Albania and made use of the cost-efficient services and accessibility: “It is very important to understand the law when cruising the Ionian seas. Embarking and disembarking outside of Greece is a must, but I have found that starting and ending in Albania to be very efficient and expedited,” comments Apogee’s Yacht Charter Broker Barbara Dawson from Camper & Nicholsons.
“It does require some planning, but with the arrival in Corfu, heading to the port to board a private hydrofoil, then travelling to Saranda to clear in, it ends up being a very professional service, and is all done in one hour! Plus, there is no VAT charged on the charter fee, so that makes it worthwhile for everyone!”
Albania can provide everything a yacht may require and is becoming a leading tourist and yachting hotspot. As well as a yacht agent for RYachts, Silvia Dedja is the Sales and Marketing Representative for the Kastrati Group and can provide services from a recommended fuelling and yacht agency and what’s on offer in Albania.