BMA watermark crest

Journey with us from our origins in 1977 to The BMA today

Charting the course for growth towards improved Quality, Safety and Service

Looking back over the past decades, The BMA has achieved everything that it set out to accomplish. It is a renowned quality flag with a reputation for the highest safety standards and stellar Port State Control Whitelist rankings around the world. With a continuing commitment to excellence in customer service, The Bahamas Maritime Authority can look ahead to the coming years with confidence.


First vessels registered in the Bahamas

Mercator One was the first vessel registered under The Bahamas Flag.

As the 1990s rolled in, the maritime affairs of The Bahamas, a Flag State, were managed by  government departments. Globally, opportunities were emerging for countries like The Bahamas with their open registries to invite non-national shipowners to use their vessel registration services and fly their flags.   However, these new prospects were developing in a period of intensifying regulatory complexity and it was becoming clear that the oversight of the maritime industry and open register could not be managed under the broad remit of the government.


The Bahamas Maritime Authority is founded in July 1995.

In 1995, with the passing of the eponymous Bahamas Maritime Authority Act, a new government agency, The Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA), was inaugurated to take responsibility for all ships registered in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.   At the time The Bahamas Fleet was growing rapidly and was the sixth largest in the world with a tonnage reaching 34,787.


The BMA established the London office

At The Bahamas High Commission, 10 Chesterfiled St, Mayfair, London W1J 5JL. When The BMA was established Judith Francis was appointed as Acting Director, and John Dempster became the first appointed Managing Director and CEO.


IACS logo

BMA recognised Class Societies:

ABS, Bureau Veritas, Germanischer Lloyd, DNV, Lloyd’s Register, NKK, RINA


The Register at a glance

The worlds fifth largest with more than 1,400 vessels and 25 million gross tons.

Our fleet has a good safety record, among the best of the open registers, and better than many national flags.

Newly built ships are a feature of the register.


IMO Logo

IMO visit The Bahamas

First visit to The Bahamas from IMO Secretary General William O’Neil


The BMA becomes the world’s 5th largest fleet


The Flag Newsletter launched

The first edition of The Bahamas Flag was launched by Transport Minister, The Honourable Tennyson Wells  in January 1997.


Bahamas Shipowners Association logo

The Bahamas Shipowners Association (BSA) was inaugurated

The Bahamas Shipowners Association (BSA) was inaugurated in London on 11 July 1997 by the then Bahamas Minister of Transport, James F Knowles.

The Association represents the shipowners of the sixth largest register in the world and members have common interests and a purpose.  


The BMA introduces Technical Bulletins

The BMA introduces Technical Bulletins to improve communications on Bahamas requirements to all shipowners and operators.


Bahamas joins CMOU

Bahamas joins the Caribbean Memorandum of understanding on Port State Control.


A the forefront of technology

Announcement of a significant investment programme to automate The BMA’s IT systems. This included computerisation of the register and registration procedures, along with the creation of a technical database and crew licencing records.


The Bahamas now has the world’s third largest merchant fleet

The BMA became the world’s number one ship register of passenger ships with 20% more of such vessels than any other flag and still remains the market leader today.


Seamen’s record books

The BMA Seamen’s Record Books become available in response to requests from shipowners and managers


BMA’s New York office opening

The BMA opens a New York office, East 46th Street NYC. Ms Judith Francis, Senior Deputy Director heads the office. Offering shipowners and their representatives a full registration service in the Americas.


BMA host first inspections’ meeting

The BMA hosted the first inspectors’ meeting in London, bringing together inspectors from around the world.


Korean Register logo

Korean Register of shipping

The BMA adds Korean Register of Shipping as a Bahamas recognised class society.


Most technically advanced Register in the world

The Bahamas Ship Register in London is fully computerised, making it one of the most technically advanced Register systems in the world


BMA open first office in ASIA

The BMA established its presence in Japan, Tokyo with Mitsui Soko as representative to boost services to Asian shipowners


Paris MoU

Paris MoU – Port State Control

The Bahamas was on the white list when it was first started in 2000 and remains on the white list today.


World’s largest sailing ship registered

The world’s largest sailing ship at that time, the Royal Clipper, flies The Bahamas flag


Nassua office relocate

BMA, Nassau, relocated to new offices on 23 May 2001.


Bahamas Shipowners Association logo

The BSA holds its AGM for the first time in The Bahamas


Bahamas register the largest ship in the world

The Bahamas registers one of the largest ships in the world at that time. The Empress des Mers, part of Tankership Transport’s Empress fleet Sister ships.


First website launched

The BMA introduces its first website, providing an essential source of general and technical information, Including facts and figures about The Bahamas Shipowners Association, merchant shipping legislation, the many types of forms that ship owners and offices may require from bill of sale to casualty report forms and an overview of The BMA’s worldwide operations.


The register at at glance

The total fleet tonnage presently stands at about 32.5 million gross tons.


BMA registers the world’s largest floating dry dock

BMA proudly registers the world’s largest floating dry dock with the arrival of the Grand Bahamas Shipyard Dock 2 in Freeport, enabling The Bahamas to facilitate repairs for the largest cruise ships in the world.


BMCC Established

Bahamas Maritime Cadet programme, The Bahamas Marine Cadet Corp (BMCC), is launched with the aim of introducing high school students to their historic maritime tradition and to open their eyes to the many and varied career opportunities available in the international shipping industry. Dudley Martinborough one of the founding BMA board members was the Coordinator


Bilateral Maritime Transport agreement between The Bahamas and China is signed

The Bilateral Maritime Transport agreement between The Bahamas and China is signed, granting ship owners of both nationalities the “most favoured nation” status regarding port access, port stay and use of port facilities.


Licensing Department celebrated the issuance of 50,000 STCW endorsements

In February 2004, the Authority and the Licensing Department celebrated the issuance of 50,000 STCW endorsements. The licences now comply with all of the amendments of the Standard of Training and
Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978. The licensing process, which began at the end of 2001, has seen the Department produce, on average, an impressive 2000 licences per month.


BORIS link icon

World’s first full computerised shipping register

The Bahamas Maritime Authority was among the first registries to become completely computerised. This shift undoubtedly boosted the Authority’s efficiency, but as many other organisations discovered, computerisation simply automated previous manual processes.
The BMA realised that although those processes were the best practice of their day, computerisation opened up new possibilities and the Authority had to meet the challenge head-on.


Bahamas register the biggest passenger ship in terms of gross tonnage

Royal Caribbean unveils the world’s most expensive ship order to date, Freedom of the Seas, flying The Bahamas flag. The biggest passenger ship in terms of gross tonnage at the time.


Caribbean Port State Control Committee

The Bahamas hosts the Caribbean Port State Control Committee


Bahamas hits 50 million gt


All ten IACS Classification Societies recognised by The Bahamas

All ten IACS Classification Societies are now recognised by The Bahamas. Both the CCS and RS have worldwide representation of surveyors and auditors and they are actively involved in a variety of initiatives to improve onboard safety and to set technical standards for ships and offshore installations.  


World’s largest cruise ship flagged

World’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, is flagged with The Bahamas


BMA opens office in Hong Kong

The BMA’s newest office was officially opened in Hong Kong on 25 October 2010 by Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham. Offering full BMA registration services worldwide, it was the first commercial venture by The Bahamas in the Far East.

70% of all vessels newly registered with The Bahamas flag are new builds, demonstrating the authority’s drive to build a young fleet


Bahamas elected to Chair IMO FSI SubCommitee


Bahamas Yacht Code Introduced

After a significant number of years attracting quality yacht tonnage to the Register, V1 Bahamas Yacht Code is introduced to advise and aid the registration of yachts


Bahamas qualifies for US Coast Guard’s Qualship 21 programme for the first time

A Flag State is considered eligible for Qualship 21 when it has a detention ratio of 1.0% or less on a three-year rolling average and it has completed, or requested, its IMO Voluntary Member State Audit (VIMSAS).


The Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006) was implemented into Bahamas law

The Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006) was implemented into Bahamas law and came into force on 20th August 2013. The MLC 2006 consolidated a number of seafarer related conventions which was a major accomplishment to protect seafarer’s rights.


Greek office was officially opened

The BMA’s Piraeus office was officially opened on the 30th May at Posidonia in Piraeus, Greece. Greece is one of the Mediterranian’s most active shipping regions attracting ship owners from all corners of the globe. The opening of the new office allows the Greek shipping community who are flagged with The Bahamas to benefit from a dedicated support service.


Appointed Croatian, Polish, and Indian registry


WISTA opened a chapter in The Bahamas

The Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) opened a chapter in The Bahamas. The inaugural event saw a number of key influencers from across the industry welcome the establishment of the chapter. WISTA is a worldwide networking and mentoring association for women in the maritime industry


National Maritime Week

Bahamas host first maritime week

1st Bahamas Maritime Week – The theme of the week was “Building The Maritime Industry For The Next Generation”, with the aim being to develop the maritime industry in The Bahamas and raise national awareness of the potential careers and business opportunities within the sector. It was named in honour of The BMA Deputy Chairman, Mr Peter John Goulandris.


Tokyo office opening

The BMA Tokyo Office Opening Ceremony in November 2018


BMA, BSA and other industy bodies support Dorian relief fund.

Hurricane Dorian, was the most powerful storm ever to hit the Islands of The Bahamas. The BMA, The BSA, individual Bahamian shipowners and maritime industry partners made a monetary contribution and invested significant time and resources to support the relief efforts for Hurricane Dorian.  


CRUISE Carnival fleet off Bahamas for crew repatriation

Covid-19 Crew Repatriation support

The Bahamas Government played a crucial role in enabling over 70 passenger ships of both Bahamas and non-Bahamas flags to shelter in its territorial waters, repatriating more than 30,000 seafarers in facilitating crew changeover


Silver Anniversary – BMA Celebrate 25 Years

The Bahamas Maritime Authority commemorates 25 years


The Flag Newsletter - Issue 36 (Online Version)

BMA Celebrates 25 years with a brand new look!

The BMA commemorates 25 years with a brand-new website and fresh new look!


The BMA is delighted to launch its brand-new website and a rejuvenated look.

BMA launch new website

Launch a brand-new website




Bahamas joins The North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA).


The Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) is delighted to welcome its first Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) powered passenger ship, MARDI GRAS, to the Flag.

First LNG powered passenger ship registered

The Bahamas welcomes the registry’s first LNG powered passenger ship – Mardi Gras.


Full complement of BMA documentation now available electronically

Major enhancements to BORIS Online registration system

The BMA launches major enhancements to its online registration information system (BORIS).
Full complement of documentation available electronically.


BMA announces agreement for representation in South Korea

BMA signed an agreement with Ben Line Agencies to establish representation in South Korea, one of the world’s leading shipbuilding and ship-owning nations. Further strengthening The BMA’s gloabl representation through the expansion of the Authority’s base within the Asian region.


Register at a glance

As at 30 June 2021, records indicate
The BMA has nearly 1500 vessels under its registration with a combined weight of just over 64 Million Gross Tons.


The Bahamas welcomes its largest ship and first Floating LNG vessel to the flag

CORAL-SUL FLNG, the third Floating LNG (FLNG) processing unit ever to be built has been registered under The Bahamas flag.
The vessel is the first FLNG to be flagged with The Bahamas and, at 346,165 gross tonnage, is also the largest vessel of any type on the Ship register.