FOCUS Richard Lofthouse, Managing Director, CATALANO SHIPPING SERVICES INDONESIA
Elise: So Richard, how did you get to be a superyacht agent in Indonesia?
Richard: Back in 2008, Indonesia was a navigational hazard between Singapore and Australia. I got tasked with opening a superyacht agency based in Bali and it seemed like a challenge so I jumped in. Since then I have brought over 400 superyachts into Indonesia and was the first to bring big boats into the majority of Indonesian ports. I had no blueprint to follow so I just tried to figure it all out and in many ways still am. But it has helped to put Indonesia on the map as one of the greatest cruising destinations on the planet and I'm extremely proud to have played a part.
E: What is your background? Did you have any superyacht experience?
R: I grew up in a ship-building town and have always loved the ocean. I surf, foil, freedive, swim, fish and generally like getting wet. But I'd not seen a superyacht up close until I was standing on one trying to clear it into the country! Luckily, my background is in event management for brands like Porche, Dior, MTV, Chivas and many others where I was asked at short notice to pull off impossible or unlikely things in spectacular fashion with a budget to match - pretty much the standard superyacht brief. So I took to agency like a fish takes to water and loved it from day one!
E: Indonesia is remarkable. What are the highlights for you?
R: Too many to mention really. I have had adventures beyond my wildest dreams. Going to the Spice Islands by boat with Des Alwi the 'King of Banda' for what turned out to be his last birthday is something I will never forget. He made me an honorary citizen for swimming across the harbour and climbing the huge active volcano. The third part was to marry a local girl but they were all taken so he let me off that part!
E: What does it mean to establish an Agents by Catalano branch in Indonesia?
R: I knew it was time to push things forward again here. Once Tomaso, Laurent and myself started talking and I saw what they had built, I knew this was it. Captains and owners want to come east and they want to know they can trust their shore support. That's what the company is built on and as partners we share that vision, irrespective of location. It is incredibly exciting and I am now running the company I have always dreamed about in a place I love. Can't really do better than that.