Bahamas, July 20, 2017 – Nassau – The Ministry of Tourism, Environment, Heritage, Culture & Gaming senior officials, along with the Director of Maritime, Gerald Anthony participated in the RED ENSIGN Group Conference, in Georgetown, Grand Cayman, 10th to 14th July, 2017, held at the Marriott Beach Resort. The conference was hosted by the Maritime Authority of Cayman.
The TCI delegation participated in bi-lateral sessions prior to the conference with UK officials from MCA and CSSF, where discussions were held on the potential for offering assistance for projects which will ensure the compliance to IMO standards by coastal states. There were also discussions on capacity building, and training opportunities to develop skills as domestic surveyors’, casualty Investigators, etc. The group was sensitized to the development of a legislative framework on status of conventions ratified and compatible local legislation, which is required for us to meet our international obligations. The importance of exploring additional conventions that will offer further protective measures as a safety net to reduce contingent liability was discussed as equally important.
The sessions highlighted the gaps we have in our administrative, compliance, legislative and resources; and provided guidance on what we need to do to address these through partnership and collaboration.
The conference is held annually and the Red Ensign Group is comprised of the United Kingdom, Crown Dependencies (Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey) and UK Overseas Territories (Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena and the Turks & Caicos Islands) which operate shipping registers. These registers are divided into two categories:
Category 1 – register ships of unlimited tonnage and type.
Category 2 – register commercial ships and yachts of up to 150 gross tons (this limit can be extended to 400GT with an agreement in place with the UK); and vessels which are not operated commercially of up to 400 GT.
The Turks & Caicos Islands is in Category 2.
The Ministry is committed to the government intentions to encourage and develop a maritime tourism plan, and national maritime strategy to facilitate demands, hence increasing market penetration. The knowledge gained at the conference by delegates will go a long way in enhancing the strategic direction of the sector. To this end, we are anticipating a visit from MCA technical officials in November, 2017 where it is expected that the country will develop an implementation plan for key actions, which is design to heighten the profile of Maritime and ocean governance in the TCI. This plan will also develop a road map toward upgrading TCI registry from a category 2 to a category 1.
Minister Hon. Ralph Higgs commented; “It is important for us to advance our standards and develop capacity in the Maritime sector, we are fortunate to have yachts and other pleasure crafts, world class cruise ships, and commercially trading vessels frequenting our shores on a daily basis. Our potential to increase commerce through market share will provide a viable source of economic development for the TCI.”
Press Release: BIS