January - March 2001
BEIRUT WESTERN MARINA - no more hampered
Firm action put an end to the trespassing on the Beirut western marina. On February 3, owners of seventy illegally docked boats were given official notice to vacate the marina. The operation was mentioned and enforced by administrative authorities, with the last batch leaving on February 28. This measure followed the issuing of two Council of Ministers' decrees.

The new decrees

Decree 4837 of February 3, 2001 cancels previous licences to occupy part of the maritime public domain in the Beirut Mina El Hosn area. Specifically, decrees 8822/1932 and 2660/1959 shall be deemed cancelled and non-existent upon Société des Grands Hotels du Levant s.a.l (SGHL) taking possession of the area referred to in the two agreements signed on March 7, 1997 between the Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR) and each of SGHL and Société des Bains de Mers s.a.l (SBM). The ownership transfer is conditional on the implementation of the companies' obligations as stipulated in the agreements. CDR is to take the necessary steps to ensure the  implementation of the agreements. Decree 14981/1957 shall equally be cancelled.

Decree 4838 of February 3, 2001, confirming Council of Ministers' resolutions 83/1995 and 40/2000, stipulates the incorporation of the water sheet referred to as Sector 5 of the Beirut St George area master plan, within the Beirut western marina built as per the BCD master plan, such sector to form an integral part of the marina, which is to be operated as a whole. CDR is entrusted with taking the necessary steps to ensure that SOLIDERE proceeds with fulfilling its contractual obligations under the marina operating agreement. SOLIDERE shall have no right to file any claim for ownership rights in Sector 5, such incorporation being only relevant for marina operation purposes.
Legal background for the new decrees
  • Decree 8822 of January 18, 1932 had authorized SGHL to occupy and operate 2,000 sq m of land on the maritime public domain in the Beirut Mina El Hosn area for the construction of the St George hotel.
  • Decree 14981 of February 15, 1957 had authorized Mr. M.C. Nader to occupy and operate an adjoining 1,900 sq m water surface in the maritime public domain in the Beirut Mina El Hosn area. That area was later landfilled as per Decree 7660/95 (see below).
  • Decree 2660 of November 27, 1959 had authorized SGHL to occupy and operate 2,000 sq m of the maritime public domain in the Beirut Mina El Hosn area.
  • Decree 4830 of March 4, 1994, amended by decree 5609 of September 3, 1994, ratified the Beirut Central District (BCD) master plan which provides for the construction of a western and an eastern marina.
  • Decree 5665 of September 21, 1994 ratified SOLIDERE's agreement with the State, which relates to financing and executing BCD infrastructure works, including notably the partial landfilling of the sea in the Beirut Normandy area, and the construction of a sea defense structure and two marinas.
  • Council of Ministers' resolution of October 4, 1995 entrusted to the Directorate General for Urbanism (DGU) the preparation of a master plan for the Beirut St George area, consistent with and complementary to the BCD master plan. CDR was entrusted with preparing a study for the tourist development of the area in the vicinity of the St George hotel.
  • Council of Ministers' resolution 83 of November 15, 1995 approved the proposals presented by DGU and CDR. The St George area was divided into five sectors. Sector 5 was deemed an integral part of the Beirut western marina, to be operated as a whole. SGHL and Mr. Nader were given the right to acquire 10,921 sq m (6133 and 4788 respectively) of land in sector 1, including the areas occupied by SGHL as per decrees 8822/1932 and 2660/1959, against executing some works in the area. In addition, the two parties were allowed to occupy, on a temporary basis and against a yearly fee, an area of 3641 sq m (2045 to SGHL and 1596 to Mr. Nader). All previous decrees that had granted SGHL and Mr. Nader the right to occupy parts of the maritime public domain in the St George area were rescinded.
  • Decree 7660 of December 15, 1995 ratified the St George area master plan. Sector 4, providing access to the western marina and forming part its quay, must be developed in harmony with the marina provided for in the BCD master plan. The decree stressed that Sector 5, an integral part of the western marina water sheet, is part  of the maritime public domain, and that any existing structure there was to be demolished. (This referred to an unlicensed jetty constructed by SGHL and Mr. Nader during the Lebanon war years.)
  • Decree 7692 of December 21, 1995 deemed the western and eastern ,marinas to be built as per the BCD master plan as being of tourist utility. Consequently, in compliance with law 58/67 (Implementation and operation of tourist projects), both Sector 5 and the two marinas became part of the State's private domain. The operation of the two marinas was entrusted to SOLIDERE and a committee of directors general in the Lebanese administration were appointed to draft the operating agreement.
  • Decree 8939 of August 9, 1996 restated the provisions of decree 7692/1995, with the added signatures of the public works and transport ministers.
  • Two agreements, signed on March 7, 1997 between CDR and each of SGHL and SBM (replacing Mr. Nader), detailed the works to be carried out by the two companies. The latter were granted ownership of the 10,921 sq m of land against these works, and waived the right to file any action for the cancellation of decree 5609/94 (the BCD master plan) and other decrees relating to the BCD and St George areas.
  • Council of Ministers' resolution 26 of September 17, 1997 approved the agreement granting SOLIDERE a fifty year concession to operate the marinas provided for in the BCD master plan, drafted as per law 58/67 by the committee of directors general in the public administration, reviewed and audited by Public Audit Court.
  • The latter agreement was signed on September 25, 1997.