Friday, November 4, 2011
Friday, November 4, 2011
BAHAMAS INFORMATION SERVICES: Nassau, The Bahamas – Minister of Environment Earl Deveaux addressed the Bahamas Shipowners Association (BSA) annual general meeting, held at Det Norske Veritas (DNV) headquarters in Oslo, Norway.
DNV is an independent classification foundation that represents The Bahamas maritime operations in the Scandinavian country.
BMA Ship Owners Association. From left to right: George Pateras, Chairman of BSA; Peter J Goulandris, Deputy Chair BMA; Ian Fair, BMA Chairman; and Minister of the Environment, Earl Deveaux. (BIS Photo)
“We thank you for coming and sharing your vision for the establishment of a Bahamas Maritime Training Institute. The Bahamas’ dream of a maritime cluster has taken a substantial forward leap. Your goal of training 2,000 seafarers and mariners over 10 years is worthy of all of our support,” he told the gathering.
“I acknowledge, with thanks, DNV for representing The Bahamas and being one of three classification societies, which ably do so. We are proud of the service you provide and look forward to a continued mutually rewarding relationship,” said Deveaux.
He expressed an appreciation on behalf of the Bahamas government to the Bahamas Maritime Association (BMA) for maintaining the nation’s place as the third largest ship registry in the world.
“We have listened to the needs of our partners and our friends and we have, and continue to, develop top-rate maritime services. All the while promoting long-term sustainability and maintaining our long-standing tradition of high quality service.”
The Bahamas government, said the Minister, has responded to concerns raised by the BSA by meeting the criteria they posed to improve the maritime services offered by the BMA’s registry.
“The government of The Bahamas remains keenly aware of your concerns; concerns that have become more acute with the fiscal challenges to large segments of your industry and indeed the world. We have responded by waiving registration fees, amending the fee structures, increasing staff availability, and improving customer service,” said Minister Deveaux.
“Though our fleet continues to grow, we know that it is essential to change to enhance the attractiveness of the flag and to accommodate your requirements.”
“The government of The Bahamas has also responded to you with the passing of the Maritime Marriage Act, which allows marriages to take place on board ships registered with our flag. While, to date, one has yet to be performed, we know that this is something that is of significant importance to cruise ship owners and has been for several years.”
The BMA expanded its reach throughout the world when it opened a satellite office in Hong Kong. The nation’s presence there is set to add more members to the registry to increase The Bahamas’ chances to become the largest registry in the world.
“We have also sought [to] broaden our reach to better serve your base in the Far East by opening an office in Hong Kong. That office has full capacity to register ships and address most queries. We anticipate expanding other offices there to include services to promote our tourist products and financial services,” said Deveaux.
The Minister also drew attention for the need to continue promoting the maritime opportunities in The Bahamas.
“The Bahamas is well-known as one of the premier yachting and cruising destinations in the world. However, more than half of the potential yachting and cruising areas in the country are almost completely isolated and rarely visited by yachts and pleasure craft. So, we are very excited about our progress with the new yacht register.”
“Our registration procedures and comprehensive guidelines on construction and operation are designed to be attractive to owners, while still advocating high safety standards. This innovation, coupled with The Bahamas’ proximity to the United States and our modernized and expanded international airport at New Providence, informed the BMA’s recent decision to approve a proposal to sponsor and develop a master plan for a network of marinas for The Bahamas.”