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The Role of Maritime Affairs Department

The role of the maritime affairs department is to represent The Bahamas Maritime Authority on external bodies. Our main focus is on the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The IMO is the United Nations agency dedicated to technical and operational matters affecting the maritime world.

As a specialized agency of the United Nations, the IMO is the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping. Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective, universally adopted and universally implemented.

The BMA attends the IMO as adviser 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 is 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 Organization (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 and other industry seminars is also important. It works with high quality owners at the leading edge of maritime legislation and so is able to provide a valuable insight into all aspects of the maritime industry.

The BMA believes that, in order to ensure that the voice of The Bahamas is fully represented in all debates, it must utilise the depth and breadth of knowledge and experience of the whole administration. Through this process, the maritime affairs department works to fulfil its aim. And that aim is to retain The Bahamas as the voice of first reference within the international maritime community.