The Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal will be getting a 50-yacht marina, to be completed at the end of 2021, in Port Blair Harbour, according to a July 13 announcement by Asia Pacific Superyachts, a pan-Asian superyacht support agency.
Asia Pacific Superyachts said the Andaman and Nicobar Administration was trying to kick start cruise and yachting tourism with various new infrastructure projects, led by the Port Management Board of Port Blair.
A pier on Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India
“Currently, international sailors and visiting yachts and superyachts are required to stay at anchorage due to the absence of a dedicated marina”, says R. Rathnam, who is based in Port Blair and handles superyacht visits to the Andaman Islands for Asia Pacific Superyachts.
“Now a yacht marina is planned for the inner part of the Port Blair Harbour (Mithakhari), which will provide the required logistics and repair facilities for the Andaman & Nicobar Islands”, says Rathnam, who also works with Tourism and Government in organising the annual Sail the Andamans Yacht Carnival. There is also a proposal for upgrading the existing Passenger Terminals at Haddo Wharf and Phoenix Bay to meet requirements for berthing of international yachts as well as inter-island cruise vessels and pleasure crafts.
The project has reportedly been approved by the Ministry of Shipping and expected to be available by December 2021.
Rathnam also says that procedures for visiting yachts are to be simplified, with new Standard Operating Procedures to come which will provide a single platform, easing arrival and departure procedures.
The Andaman & Nicobar Islands of India have become a significant yachting destination in the Indian Ocean, with pristine clear waters, sandy beaches of uninhabited islands, thriving coral life and geography suited to cruising. One island is home to a herd of wild elephants, brought in for logging but later abandoned on the island.
An average of 86 yachts per year visited the Andaman Islands via Port Blair between the years 2007 and 2012, the only years that the Port Management Board for Port Blair makes statistics available. Though part of India, the islands are much closer to Phuket, with charter operators offering cruises in the Andamans.