The role of the maritime affairs department is to represent the BMA in external bodies. Our main focus is on the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The IMO is the United Nations agency dedicated to technical and operational matters affecting the maritime world.
We attend IMO as advisers to the permanent representatives from the Bahamas High Commission. Our team is made up of experienced and highly qualified individuals, all of whom hold (as a minimum) class I certificates of competency. In addition, the maritime affairs team works closely with all the departments of the BMA and so are able to draw on their experience of dealing with the problems faced by a traditional yet modern flag state, our Bahamian shipowners and the wider shipping industry.
The IMO is not the only organisation that we work within. The international shipping industry employs some 1.25 million seafarers and so it is unsurprising that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva has a remit to deal with issues affecting seafarers. The Bahamas was instrumental in working with the international community in developing the 2006 Maritime Labour Convention (MLC). The MLC is a very important instrument and will become the fourth pillar of maritime legislation. The others being the conventions on Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), Maritime Pollution (MARPOL) and Seafarer Training (STCW).
Representing the BMA at conferences is also important. We work with high quality owners at the leading edge of maritime legislation and so we are able to provide a valuable insight into all aspects of the maritime industry.
In maritime affairs we believe that in order to ensure that the voice of The Bahamas is fully represented in all debates we must utilise the depth and breadth of knowledge and experience of the whole administration. Through this process, the maritime affairs department works to fulfill its aim. And that aim is to retain The Bahamas as the voice of first reference within the international maritime community.