Republic of the Marshall Islands Yacht Code Supports the Building of Expedition Yachts

11 July 2023

Dutch shipyard Leapher Yachts will bring three newbuild custom expedition yachts to the market in 2025, each built to Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Yacht Code standards. The first yacht, a 60.5-meter superyacht, celebrated its first major construction milestone with a keel-laying ceremony in May 2023.

Code named Lazarus or Project P22201, the 1,710 gross ton expedition yacht will be Polar 1C-classed, have a 40-day autonomous capability, and a range of 14,000 nautical miles, allowing the vessel unprecedented and extensive access to the remote and uncharted regions of the world without depending on frequent resupply or provisioning. Equipped with helicopter capability and two tenders, the yacht will accommodate up to 14 guests and 17 crew.

“The latest trend in yachting is not limited to size, but rather capability, range, and functionality,” said Patrick Bachofner, Director, Geneva Office and Worldwide Director, Yachts for International Registries, Inc. and its affiliates (IRI), which provide administrative and technical support to the RMI Maritime Registry. “The new generation of yacht owners want a yacht that offers unlimited access to the world, which can be difficult under certain flags. The RMI Yacht Code offers a pragmatic approach in applying regulations and offering alternative solutions, so we have seen an increase in ‘expedition’ style yachts being designed and built to the RMI Yacht Code,” continued Bachofner.

The RMI Yacht Code, updated in 2021, takes a common sense and practical approach to regulatory requirements for vessels of increasing size and complexity. It also addresses evolving safety and technical issues for the latest industry trends such as helicopter landing areas, underwater glazing for observation areas, and more.

“Expedition and explorer style yachts require a high level of flexibility and technical experience. Everything from propulsion systems to interior technology needs to be appropriately understood, analyzed, and engineered with a mindset that focuses on adventure and exploration without compromising safety and operation,” said Roosendaal based Marc Verburg, IRI’s Director, Yacht Operations.

Headquartered in the Netherlands, at the facility formerly owned by De Hoop, Leapher Yachts is new to the yacht market, but boasts a core leadership team that includes highly experienced Dutch yacht builders and engineers including Co-founder Yiannis Andriotis; Production Manager Lucas Van Elsen, previously at Oceanco, Feadship and Heesen; and Chief Technical Officer Wilma Van Rein, formerly of Feadship.

“We want to give owners the advantage of smart engineered and built yachts by incorporating the knowledge gained over the years from both commercial maritime and yachts,” said Andriotis. “Together with the RMI Maritime Administrator, we designed our yacht’s systems and particulars to be efficient and high-quality in every possible aspect. Overcoming standard performance barriers requires a collaborative environment, and this project is an example of flag, Class, and shipyard coming together to secure a long-lasting and efficient solution,” he continued.

Hans Krijger, General Manager of IRI’s Roosendaal office, attended the keel laying ceremony with the owners and shipyard in May 2023. Krijger, who joined IRI in 2004, has extensive experience in the Dutch maritime industry.

“From a technical perspective, this is a special project and one that allows the Registry to use its experience on the commercial side to benefit the yacht industry. It is also a unique partnership that showcases the significant innovation that can happen when stakeholders come together,” concluded Krijger.