The birth of the Bahamas Register

The Bahamas is a proud island nation steeped in the history and traditions of the sea. From 1492 when Christopher Columbus first discovered the islands, through the 17th and 18th centuries which saw The Bahamas dominated by pirates, to today's vigorous maritime centre, The Bahamas has a rich maritime heritage.

When the first ship was registered in The Bahamas more than 30 years ago, little did anyone realise that the fleet would grow to its current position as one of the world's largest Registers with over 50 million gt of ships flying the Bahamas flag in every corner of the globe.

By the early 1990s, the Register, under the management of a branch of the Bahamas Ministry of Transport, was growing rapidly and it became clear that a new arrangement was required to manage an increasingly international fleet. The Bahamas Maritime Authority was duly established in July 1995.

The function of the Authority is to register vessels, enforce ship safety requirements and constantly monitor and improve standards. We also represent The Bahamas at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and other international bodies such as the European Commission and the US Coast Guard.

But although the growth of the Register is gratifying, the BMA’s policy is not one of growth at all costs: quite the contrary. The Authority, like the Bahamas Government, believes that standards should not be sacrificed in order to attract tonnage. In fact ships that do not meet international standards are not accepted onto the register. A commitment to quality, compliance and continuous improvement are expected from all Bahamian-registered ships, their owners and crews and we are proud of our reputation throughout the international shipping industry.


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