Shipping registry ranking drop not all bad

Minister of Transport and Local Government, Frankie Campbell.

The Bahamas’ shipping registry has decreased due to a loss of ships registered under the Bahamian flag, revealed Minister of Transport and Local Government Frankie Campbell during a press conference Monday.

The drop, he said, was also due in part to an increase in tonnage brought on by an uptick in cruise liners to the destination.

As a member and leading contributor to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), The Bahamas has for years held the third spot.

It is currently in sixth position.

Campbell explained yesterday that the Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) won’t rest on their “laurels” but will continue to improve the sector.

“We have taken in more cruise ships,” Campbell said.

“What the cruise ships do for us – because we offer the certificate for the crew – is increase our income.”

Foreign officers and crew members may serve on Bahamian-registered vessels, provided the officers hold foreign professional certification acceptable to BMA and well as conforms to Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) regulations.

“They have an average of 1,500 crew members so, we increase income even though we have decreased the actual number of ships. So,we are gaining in certain areas,” the minister explained.

Campbell said while he is not satisfied with the country’s ranking, BMA subscribes to the philosophy of total quality management.

“If we can’t do it better, we will find a way to do it faster,” he said.

“We are always in improvement mode as we look for a means to improve and expand our product.”

Foreign-owned vessels may be registered in The Bahamas if they are less than 12 years old, at least 1,600 net registered tons (NRT) and engaged in ‘foreign-going’ trade. Vessels more than 12 years old may also be approved for registration subject to a successful condition survey.