Unfavorable laws have left the BVI’s Shipping Registry (BVISR) at a disadvantage and resulted in business loss. In an effort to shift course Capt. Anantharaman Balasubramanian Acting Director, Virgin Islands Shipping Registry suggested legislative amendments to the Standing Finance Committee.
Capt. Balasubramanian admitted that the Registry is not at its optimum point as yet and stated it would take some good marketing to get more ships registered. He also suggested amendments to the Fee Regulation so that BVISR can charge for what they actually spend in providing the service.
He said they need to have friendly laws in Merchant Shipping that would attract persons to the Registry and once these things are in place, then in the next couple of years the BVI Shipping Registry would be able to break even.
In noting how the current laws were working against the BVISR Capt. Balasubramanian stated “that it was quite odd that residents of the United Stated are not eligible to register their ships in the BVI and the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry.” He stated that there are many small countries with no connection to the BVI and it is quite okay for them to register in the BVI.
In explaining why U.S. ships were not allowed to register in the BVI, the BVISR Acting Director stated if a company in the U.S. has a ship then they are not eligible to register with BVI. He said over the past years they have noticed every year the BVI was losing up to 150 yachts. Once the yachts are sold to U.S. nationals they are ineligible to register with the BVI so they take their business elsewhere.
The Shipping Registry head pointed out that the proposed amendments were already in the Premier’s Office along with the Maritime Labour Convention. He said the papers have been in the Premier’s Office for a long time. He stated that the Maritime Labour Convention was not passed as well.
The Director said the Registry during its meeting with Cabinet spoke at length on why the Legislation should be passed. “It is very important for our business that we are in compliance with all the International Rules,” he told the Standing Finance Committee.