Quick Q&A: Imperial Director Julia Stewart on safe chartering

The brokerage market is the part of our industry that is naturally most reactive to world events. Those working in this sector have to swiftly navigate through difficult times in order to survive. Therefore, it is important to hear from the leaders in the brokerage world not just to share their insights on the current global pandemic, but to help educate those who are not so familiar with the work of brokers. Here, the Director of Imperial, Julia Stewart, explains how the company is reacting to the global pandemic.

Julia StewartWhat kind of measurements has Imperial taken to make sure the crew and guests on board stay healthy?  

It very much depends on the yacht, the facilities and the budget. Flying Fox is a PYC compliant charter vessel that has medical staff as part of the crew, including two nurses. Because we are operational managers as well as charter CA's for Flying Fox we are in charge of the day-to-day goings-on onboard as well as the essential procedures. One of the reasons why some of the charter bookings have been cancelled is because guests are concerned that some of the crew may be rotated just before the charter starts and the new incoming crew will have to undertake quarantine measures. But as operational managers, our duty is to think about the health and safety of our crew and clients which we do with appropriate safety procedures.  Flying Fox yacht by Lürssen exteriorPhoto: ImperialDo you feel that there should be an industry standard for safety in this case?  

Yes, unity is always a good way to move forward. It would be good if there was a common set of rules. At Imperial, we will certainly not run a yacht with low standards or services. Especially as there is such a large charter market out there, you have to demonstrate that your yacht is the crème de la crème with all the correct procedures.  Flying Fox yacht by Lürssen in MonacoPhoto: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht TimesWhat is Imperial’s opinion on the status of the upcoming yacht shows?  

It's a difficult choice for us because Monaco is our place of business and where our main office is, so we always support local activity, businesses and enterprises. We want to look at solutions for this year’s Monaco Yacht Show and are in close discussions with our partners and clients. The situation is complex for the whole industry, but we discuss on a daily basis with the Monaco Yacht Show team and we will make a final decision this summer, not before.  Monaco Yacht Show 2019Photo: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht TimesWhat is your feeling on the state of the market right now?  

Overall, I think the market is reacting to the global pandemic the same everywhere. Perception is important and things are difficult for a lot of business at the moment and so, to turn up onboard a large yacht is maybe not the best impression which does affect the market. However, even if we don't yet know the status of the pandemic this summer, having countries reopening such as Croatia, Greece and Italy is a positive signal and our industry can react correctly.  

This interview was part of the 13th SuperYacht Times Webinar. If you missed out, catch up via the video found below. All past and future SuperYacht Times Webinars can be found here.