Coral Island Superyacht Gibraltar

Coral Island Superyacht Gibraltar

coral island

One of the regular visiting Superyachts to Gibraltar waters was in distress Thursday 13th June 2013 just off the coast of Sussex, UK, and called for assistance from the coastguard.

coral island off Eastbourne

The £75 million yacht, Coral Island, believed to be owned by Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh, rumoured previous owner of Pelorus, the superyacht currently belonging to billioinaire Roman Abramovich, called for assistance due to a crew member having suffered unexplained facial injuries in stormy waters.

Coxswain Mark Sawyer and his volunteer crew launched shortly on Thursday with the intention of taking the battered and bruised man to the town’s hospital.

But with choppy seas and gale force winds making a seaborne rescue near impossible, the coastguard helicopter was called for.

Bob Jeffery, from the Eastbourne station, said: “It was going to be treacherous trying to safely get the man to hospital in those conditions so he was winched up by the helicopter.

“It was some vessel. The photograph of our lifeboat alongside the yacht really puts it into perspective. It dwarfed our little lifeboat.”

Mr Jeffery added that the yacht anchored half a mile from Eastbourne Pier on Thursday night as they were waiting for the crew member to be treated.

They set off early on Friday to Gibraltar, their original destination.

Coral Island, which is registered in Bermuda, has something of a colourful history.


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She was built in 1994 and is owned by one of Saudi Arabia’s richest men, billionaire Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh.

The luxury hotel owner’s love of yachts is only matched by his passion for breeding Arabian horses.

He is rumoured to have sold his previous vessel to Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich.

In 1999, the Coral Island was at the centre of a huge international criminal investigation.

While docked in Antibes in southern France, the Sheikh’s prized Picasso painting, his 1938 Buste de Femme, went missing.

An investigation, spanning numerous countries was launched and a £500,000 reward was offered. However the painting was never recovered.

The vessel, which costs a cool £6 million a year to run, is home to 25 permanent staff members.

Along with a Jacuzzi, four VIP suites, three speedboats and scuba diving gear, the yacht features one of the most valuable floating galleries in the world.

The art-loving Sheik has packed the yacht with a reported £151 million of paintings including works from French artist Matisse and others from Picasso.

written by John Middleton –

UK protests over Gibraltar shooting

UK protests over Gibraltar shooting

Don’t panic it’s not as dramatic as it sounds.


The BBC news headline makes it sound as if citizens of the UK are taking to the streets of London, Birmingham and all major cities in defence of Gibraltar.  No such luck, it’s just the Europe Minister David Lidington, but bless him at least he’s speaking up.

If only schools back in the UK had Gibraltar as a large part, or even small of the curriculum then maybe everyone back home would appreciate the issues.  Well we can only hope that maybe one day Gibraltar will become as familiar word as Sussex or Essex to those back in the UK.

In the meantime the BBC reported:

Britain has protested in the “strongest terms” after an “illegal incursion” by a Spanish Guardia Civil vessel into British waters around Gibraltar.

Europe Minister David Lidington said a Spanish officer had fired a weapon during the incident on Sunday.

He said he had sought assurances from Spain that there would be no repeat of the incident.

Spain disputes Gibraltar’s sovereignty, which has been a British colony since 1713.

In a statement, Mr Lidington said: “I spoke today with Spanish minister for the European Union, Inigo Mendez de Vigo, in order to protest in the strongest terms following an incident on 23 June in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BGTW).

“During an illegal incursion by a Guardia Civil vessel, a Guardia Civil officer fired a weapon.

“I made clear that the discharge of a weapon in or near Gibraltar is completely unacceptable. I urged Senor Mendez de Vigo to investigate urgently and to take action to ensure that this will not happen again.

“I can also confirm that I have instructed the chargé d’affaires in Madrid to reiterate this protest in person to the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to request a full explanation.”

In 2012, Gibraltar and Spain clashed over fishing rights around the territory. Gibraltar police boats confronted several Spanish trawlers after they cast their nets near Gibraltar harbour.

Perhaps if the media in the UK could offer the people of Britain a truly gripping insight into real life in Gibraltar then the people back home would understand and appreciate us.  All very well for light hearted programs such as Britain in the Sun, following a handful of privileged cranks who finish work at 2.30pm (unlike the rest of us here in Gib), but Gibraltar has so much more about her than that.  We admit it is a start to raise awareness of our existence, but do we really need ‘The only way is Gib’ because a lot of the issues are no laughing matter.

John Middleton –

Gibraltar tax haven or international finance centre?

Gibraltar tax haven or international finance centre?

To find out more about investing in Gibraltar click here.

Speaking from Westminster Central Hall:

An arduous 15-year journey from ‘tax haven’ to international financial centre is complete, according to those responsible for regulating and marketing the industry based in Gibraltar.

James Tipping, director of Gibraltar’s Finance Centre, and one of the chief route-planners for the journey, is adamant that its jurisdiction has arrived at its destination with integrity and reputation intact. Tipping’s work now focuses on marketing Gibraltar as a world-class finance centre and ensuring that any lingering misconceptions about the running of its business affairs are well and truly dispelled.

Ever since the start of 2011, with the enactment of Gibraltar’s new income tax act, the Rock has been classified as an “onshore” jurisdiction. With over 20 tax information exchange agreements (TIEAs) now signed, Gibraltar has criminalised tax evasion and adopted all EU, OECD and international initiatives. Over the next two years, Tipping anticipates the international information exchange for tax purposes agenda will accelerate,something which, he insists, will be to Gibraltar’s good. “The Rock [Gibraltar] is committed to low tax rather than no tax and quality business is what’s sought, not quantities.”

Gibraltar’s latest action on the regulatory front has been to commit to a pilot scheme for automatic exchange of information with the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. The scheme establishes a series of automatic multilateral tax information exchanges. It is based on the EU-preferred model intergovernmental agreement and is in preparation for the improvement of international tax compliance. It also prepares the ground for the implementation of the US’ Fatca model to counter tax evasion by US residents using foreign accounts.

Fabian Picardo, chief minister, says signing up to this scheme brings Gibraltar in line with the UK which is calling for regulatory continuity not just across UK dependencies and overseas territories but across the world. “This is (the) level playing field that Gibraltar has been baying for…. Gibraltar is a European territory that’s been complying with European rules now for many years. I’m very proud that in the 18 months I’ve been in government, I’ve ensured that Gibraltar has come up to date on all its European obligations, in particular those that relate to financial services.”

As for actual increased market share Tipping’s team has already fulfilled one of the government’s manifesto commitments to boost growth. Earlier this year, two key senior appointments were made to oversee strategic development in the insurance and private client sectors. Michael Ashton was taken on with responsibility to develop new insurance business, and Paul Astengo has been tasked with leading the promotion of growth in the private client sector. Both appointees report to Tipping.

More regular visits to London to win city business are planned. Gibraltar has made an annual event out of its Gibraltar Day Finance Centre lunch held in the City. The emphasis here is less on touting for business and more on forming stable new business partnerships.

James Lasry, partner of Gibraltar-based law firm Hassans, says that the Rock’s repositioning places it among the most reputable finance centres on the international stage, and guarantees it will achieve a more prominent presence in London and other capital locations. He confirms that Gibraltar is already receiving a lot of attention from the UK and Switzerland. “This isn’t just funds business, but also private clients and insurance.” The fact that more motor insurance business is currently being written by Gibraltar-based firms than by Lloyd’s of London would seem to bear this out.

With the most pivotal legislation ratified, law-makers like Hassans are concentrating on pushing forward enabling legislation that will add to Gibraltar’s overall attraction. While the number of TIEAs are stacking up, however, Gibraltar has yet to sign a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA). Lasry says that the call for Gibraltar to engage in a series of DTAs with other jurisdictions was first made five years ago to the then chief minister, Peter Caruana. Lasry says, “If TIEAs are the stick, then DTAs are the carrot.” To which end, Lasry is actively wooing those jurisdictions interested in signing up to such an arrangement. “We have a working group on DTAs, and we are looking at signing a DTA with Mauritius at the moment.” Lasry excuses the time it’s taken for Gibraltar to “catch up” with other finance centres on DTAs, making the point that Gibraltar has found it hard to attract interest from other jurisdictions on account of its small size.

Nevertheless, not all industry players think DTAs are an essential tool in Gibraltar’s box of incentives. Steven Knight, chairman of Castle Trust and Chairman of the Gibraltar Association of Pension Fund Administrators (GAPFA) says DTAs don’t suit all global clients. He believes Gibraltar’s 2.5% flat rate withholding tax is actually an inducement that encourages a wider client base.

Gibraltar is already home to a good handful of international names which it hopes will serve as an advertisement for other such players. These include names such as Barclays, Lloyds TSB, SG Hambros, Credit Suisse, KPMG, PwC, and Deloitte. In keeping with the government’s aim to cultivate long term sustainable businesses in the financial sector, Tipping points out that a number of banks have recently celebrated their 25 years of local presence.

The insurance sector is a particular area where Tipping would like to see expansion imminently but he makes the point that Gibraltar has to ensure it can offer the necessary infrastructure of auditors, accountants and layers to support such growth. Gibraltar has already welcomed five new insurers: Southern Rock, Enterprise, Calpe, Preserve, and London & Colonial.

As well as attracting new industry players, the government has the task of finding a new CEO to head up its Financial Services Commission. The incumbent, Marcus Killick (pictured), who has held the post of chief regulator for 10 years, has announced he will be stepping down in September. He has been one of the longest serving heads of a financial services regulator in the world. Demonstrating the same commitment to long term continuity as is expected from industry players, Killick has declared his intention to stay in Gibraltar working in the private sector.

Gibraltar: Britain in the Sun – review

Gibraltar: Britain in the Sun – review

An eight part fly-on-the-wall, lighthearted documentary on life in Gibraltar.  Visiting varying walks of life, from Dr Eric Shaw, who affectionately looks after the apes, to the friendly Gibraltarian policemen, lifeguards and a particularly cuddly couple of jolly boys.

For those who already know or live on the rock it’s a fascinating watch, but not so sure for those who’ve never been before.  Even with the colourful editing it’s a little slow moving in pace, editorially speaking, with long shots and unnecessarily drawn out story lines, or lack of them.

eric shaw

Eric Shaw is definately the star of the show, an absolute natural in front of the camera, at ease with his animal friends, a man who comes across as relaxed and friendly, no airs and graces, just a plain old down to earth guy.  What’s not to love there?

Then there’s the ‘Jolly Boys’ Shane Athey and Tony Watkins of Dive Charters.  Just a couple of lads messing around on boats.  Running the local dive centre in Gibraltar, these two come across as playful, harmless jokers just soaking up the sun and having a bit of a laugh.  But unlike Eric Shaw, who’s daily routine, out of the oridinary, has a certain interest, there is a lack of understanding of exactly what the point is in hearing about a couple of lads having a good time in the sun.

tony watkins2

Aside from frollicking around on expensive boats and playing with torpedocams, Tony and Shane of Dive Charters are also contracted by local Marina Bay and Ocean Village Gibraltar (soon to house the new Sunborn superyacht floatel), to conduct underwater maintenance on the moorings and keep all the sailors sleeping safe in their bunks.  But does that run anymore smoothly than their boyish Laurel and Hardy antics?  Or is it just another Jolly Boy cock up?  In the words of Tony Watkins, when reviewing his video footage, ‘To be honest I don’t think it could get an awful lot worse.’

Well that’s another story coming soon …

Written by John Middleton –

Smuggling in the Strait of Gibraltar

Smuggling in the Strait of Gibraltar

It happens all the time by high powered speed boats and jet ski’s, one example is the film below which looks more like something out of an action film than reality, but is in actual fact a typical smuggling chase with the police.


Well if you do come to Gibraltar for some duty free fags or diamonds don’t forget to fuel up the jetski on cheap gas while you’re here.

Good luck

Coming soon … interview with a smuggler

by John Middleton –

Sunborn floatel arrives in Gibraltar

Sunborn floatel arrives in Gibraltar

Photographers for have the first exclusive pictures of the new Sunborn Yacht Hotel as she arrives on Gib shores upon a boat transporter.  All photos are exclusive and copyright property of Gibraltar Tourism, photos only to be used by other parties with express consent from Gibraltar Tourism

Photos taken by Adrian Warburton

More photos of the latest work and developments of Sunborn in the dry dock Gibraltar.  Coming on nicely.

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Below Sunborn arriving in Gibraltar on a ship transporter.



Sunborn Gibraltar photos and specifications

Sunborn Gibraltar photos and specifications

All images below of the Sunborn are available on the Gibraltar Government Website information services and are in the public domain, please refer to the link below.

Direct from the Gibraltar development projects planning department – wonder what she looks like inside?  Some answers below:

Red indicates official and exclusive press release from Sunborn:

Is it really the only one in the world?

Sunborn has had yacht hotels in London and Finland, but this is the first self-propelled one of five star status.  Sunborn Gibraltar will, for some time, be the only five star yacht hotel in the world.  However, Sunborn has expansion plans for other iconic cities in the world and more will follow in due course, but not immediately!

This is huge for Gibraltar as this will, for the time being, be the only destination in the world where clients can experience a five star floatel.

Is it accurate that the Sunborn will arrive in Gibraltar in 14 days?

There or thereabouts, maybe slightly earlier, but straight into Gibdock for the commissioning process.

sunborn construction 1

Pictures of the Gibraltar Sunborn super yacht hotel destined for Ocean Village Marina Bay, in the boatyard Malaysia.  Photos presented by Sunborn company for planning application.

Where is it sailing from?

The shipyard that Sunborn owns in Malaysia.

sunborn construction 2

 Is it self propelled?

She can be, she does have engines, but is not designed for cruising as the fuel tanks are small etc

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 And can it’s progress be tracked on the shipping satellites?

No, her radar is not on as she is on a yacht transportation vessel to protect Sunborn Gibraltar throughout the long crossing – and to get her here faster.

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 How soon do you think any tantalising interior photos will be ready? are keeping this one under wraps at the moment so you’ll just have to wait and see …..

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 Is any of the interior decor inspired by any famous designers?

Again, for now are keeping the secrets of Sunborn safe, but we’ve been given some big hotel design names, all to be revealed in due course.  One clue we can give is that some top designers of luxury hotels and royal palaces have been commissioned.

sunborn 6

 Do you have a celebrity lined up for the christening and if so any clues as to who?

Nothing to reveal at this stage.

Guess’s, suggestions, ideas anyone!  Will Sunborn bring an international celeb to Gibraltar for the opening?  Who would you like to see?

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John Middleton –

Sunborn Gibraltar

Sunborn Gibraltar

7th June 2013 – update official photos and specifications of the new Sunborn headed for Gibraltar – Ocean Village / Marina Bay here directly from Gibraltar planning department.

nerves are fraught over the anticipated arrival of the new Sunborn to Gibraltar, not only from the directors and CEO’s of the company

Gibraltar is expectantly waiting for the arrival of the new Sunborn Floatel, a classy five star floater, real James Bond style material, promising a bright new future for young aspiring Gibraltarians.

But where is she in transit?  Where is she coming from?  Where are the photos?

Boasted as a mass employer and boost to Gibraltar’s economy, we all await the arrival of the Sunborn Yacht Fixed Floating Hotel at Ocean Village/ Marina Bay with bated breath.

Sunborn is due to make her debut in Gibraltar in less than 13 days according to official reports, which by our estimates would make her first appearance on Gib shores on or around 19th June 2013, but we are awaiting confimation from CEO’s of the Sunborn project whether she is on schedule or not.

There have been a few contraditions in the media as to whether or not this Sunborn is the only Sunborn in the world.  Some publications have suggested that there are other Sunborns, however have not been able to find satisfactory or substantial, google, yahoo, Bing or Tripadvisor reviews for the Sunborns, as one would expect, even with a modest B&B in Torquay one would expect more than a few reviews from a concept existing since 1998, neither is there an innundation of youtube films, in fact there is little or no mention of the Sunborn except on Gibraltar official PR machine.

Gibraltar Tourism look forward to seeing a new and innovative idea such as the Sunborn, not only to create jobs but also to promote Gibraltar, but there are many, many questions left unanswered, and a great deal of mystery, all very exciting and intriguing:

Where is she coming from?

Which boatyard has been revamping her?

If the ship is brand new then why does she need to dock at Gib naval docks for a lick of paint and some televisions fitting, that sort of thing (quote from Brian Stevendale CEO Sunborn on YGTV interview) who also adds that there is stakeholder from the government of Gibraltar!  Interesting!  The charasmatic Mr Stevendale also goes on to say that Gibraltar is losing out to neighbouring Spain because there are no hotels nearby to offer the same high standards.


Most perplexing is that Gibraltar Toursim can’t seem to find any evidence that any other Sunborn exists anywhere else in the world, so will Gibraltar really have something that cannot be experienced anywhere else in the world?  If so then that in itself is a selling point.

Whatever the case, the workers at Marina Bay need to get a wriggle on if they are to finish their work in the next 14 days, photos of development coming soon on the new dock for Sunborn.

Can’t wait to see it when it arrives…


By John Middleton –



Top Gear in Gibraltar

Top Gear in Gibraltartop gear

After nearly three years of nagging the BBC show Top Gear to come to Gibraltar efforts seem to have paid off, they finally arrived.

Presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May have been spotted on the Rock as they prepare to race an Audi R8 against the McLaren Mp4-12c on the runway of Gibraltar International Airport.


And word has it that Clarkson has been invited to a challenge at the Gibraltar Golf Box the question remains, has he got the bottle?

But nevermind the toy cars, the really big question on everyone’s lips is when is Dr Who coming to the rock, and will they need extra’s??

Watch this space!

By John Middleton of Gibraltar Tourism

Bullying in Gibraltar

Bullying in Gibraltar

Speak Out, For Through Your Silence You Become An Accomplice.


Every country, city, town and village have the issue of bullying to deal with.  It is a social issue that effects every part of the world, in schools, the work place, in a social environment.  But what seperates the men from the boys is how a country, city, town or village deal with this issue.

DAWN – Dignity at Work Now in Gibraltar are there to help and fully supports their cause.

Bullying can happen anywhere, not just at school or in the work place.  According to DAWN the process evolves as below:

‘A perpetrator’s use of bullying behaviours often escalates in frequency and intensity over time. Typically, four stages of workplace bullying have been identified.

Stage 1: Bullying generally begins with aggressive behaviours, which are often indirect and subtle in nature, such as not sharing information or returning phone calls.

Covert forms of aggression are significantly more frequent in workplaces than overt forms. Perpetrators may employ these behaviours in order to maximise the harm inflicted on the target, whilst at the same time minimising the danger to themselves, e.g. reducing the risk of being identified as the perpetrator.

Stage 2 and 3: The second stage involves more direct negative behaviours, which can be clearly identified as bullying, such as verbal abuse and rumour spreading. This eventually leads to the third stage, which involves stigmatisation and victimisation of the target, who finds it increasingly difficult to defend him/herself. This may be compounded by the fact that over time the bullying gets increasingly serious and more perpetrators become involved.

Stage 4: By the fourth stage the target is severely traumatised and experiences negative psychological and physical symptoms. This often results in people leaving the organisation, either on the grounds of dismissal, redundancy or voluntarily. By this advanced stage the situation is beyond the target’s control. It is often difficult to remove the perpetrator from the organisation because either he/she is in a senior position, or because it is not easy to prove bullying has happened or collect evidence about it, and there may be legal constraints on dismissals. The entire bullying process is often long and drawn-out; in most cases lasting for more than a year and often more than two years.’

In a Panorama publication on the subject it was identified that:

‘Importantly it was also highlighted that these high incidences of complaints point a finger at middle managers as the bullying defendant.’

Gibraltar is trying to tackle the issue of bullying, which is commendable and classic of a small community ever evolving for the better, but it is a huge issue and so Gibraltar Tourism will be posting more on the subject in the weeks to come, in the hope of gathering support from schools, employers and large corporations to work together to stamp it out and support DAWN in their work

If you are being bullied you can call the DAWN helpline on + 350 57799000

Written by John Middleton of Gibraltar Tourism