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The Bahamas focuses on quality, partnership, sustainability and how the human element will fit with technology in 2020

Bahamas Country Profile

The Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) has outlined its goals for the next 12 months, with quality growth, partnership, sustainability and the effective use of technology sitting at the top of its agenda.

Capt. Dwain E. Hutchinson (ex-officio)
Captain Dwain Hutchinson, Managing Director and CEO of the BMA

Outlining his 2020 message to the industry, Captain Dwain Hutchinson, Managing Director and CEO of the BMA, said maintaining its position in the list of the world’s top 10 largest ship registries was essential to the BMA, but never at the expense of quality.

“Growth is important, but we will never compromise on our demand for, and expectation of, quality standards from our customers and the BMA team,” he said.

The fact that The Bahamas is the preferred flag for the world’s passenger cruise sector and a major player in the oil and gas sector further strengthens the aim of ensuring and maintaining compliance at the highest level. Top ranking from the perspective of port state inspections will be one measure to demonstrate the achievement of this goal.

Captain Hutchinson added: “Building on our achievements in 2019, the BMA values the role that it plays as a Government-backed registry. We will continue our hard work in enabling The Bahamas to meet all its international obligations and we will strive to maintain a leadership role in the regulatory process at important global fora such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) while still operating efficiently and professionally at a local and regional level.”

“We have set as a priority to work closely with those companies and industry groups that share the same exacting standards and values,” he said.

“We fully recognise that strategic partnerships, with effective communication and engagement, are important, not only to our quality service delivery as a ship Registry but also to the development of standards and measures that can be implemented by our customers and regulated by the BMA.

Underlying the BMA’s support for the IMO’s 2020 World Maritime theme of ‘Sustainable Shipping for a Sustainable Planet’, Capt Hutchinson said an international rather than a regional approach to regulation would help the industry meet the challenges for a cleaner and more sustainable environment.

2020 is an important year for The BMA, as it is the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Authority by The Bahamas Government. Over the course of the year, the BMA will be celebrating this milestone starting with the Bahamas National Maritime Week (to be held March 22-27) where the critical role that shipping and the maritime sector plays in The Bahamas and the broader Caribbean will be at the forefront of the week’s activities.

People are at the heart of shipping, including the provision of a quality registration service. Competent and experienced seafarers and maritime experts are crucial to the designing, constructing, managing and operating of ships and their associated support services. To achieve the goal of a clean, efficient and sustainable shipping industry, we must keep people at the heart of everything we do and ensure that we attract, develop and retain the right people for all the variety of maritime roles.

“As shipping moves at a rapid pace towards a future dominated by smart technology and enhanced digitalisation, how do we factor in the human element? How do we prepare the next generation of seafarer, naval architect, ship manager for that future? What will we demand through our regulations from him or her? And will the industry be agile enough to have embraced their demands for a career sector that not only encompasses the sustainability principle but also is forward thinking on the use of technology and continues to drive for enhancement in the way it operates?

“The number of persons on our ships and in our offices may change but their skillset and experience will be more valuable in a different sort of way. Training and the sharing of knowledge will be crucial to preparing our teams who, notwithstanding technological advances, will always play a vital role in shipping,” he concluded.