Bahamas Maritime Authority: “We Will Support Our Greek Shipping Clients as They Navigate Unprecedented Challenges”

The Bahamas Maritime Authority held its annual Greek Seminar late last week, in order to inform its partners in the local market on its activities and the recent developments in the IMO MEPC 80 session, which updated the shipping industry’s commitment to decarbonization. Highlighted by the presence and comments by Mr. Peter J. Goulandris, Vice-Chairman, the seminar also detailed the latest changes contained in IMO’s decision, as presented by Capt. Ghulam Hussain, Deputy Director, Maritime Affairs.

Dimitri Tsiftsis, Capt. Dwain Hutchinson

Mr. Goulandris said that “Bahamas will always be on the Greek Shipping’s side. We’ll continue to support the Greek office. Bahamas has an independent voice within IMO, not tied to large blocs, like for instance the ones from the EU, or China. We’re looking to express the Greek shipping’s interests”. According to Mr. Goulandris shipping is entering uncharted waters with new technologies being developed due to regulatory needs. “This is unprecedented as it’s a development which doesn’t follow the natural evolution of the market. As such, it’s complex for a ship owner to reach a decision regarding the types of newbuildings to order. Today, the number of questions is higher than the number of answers”, said Mr. Goulandris.

It’s worth noting that Greek shipping represents the largest share among the Bahamas register, which has now grown to be the eighth largest register globally, with over 64 million tons of gross tonnage and among the leaders in LNG and Gas, Offshore and Passenger shipping segments. According to Mr. Dimitris Tsiftsis, the BMA’s Regional Director, Greece now represents almost 17% of the total Bahamas’ registry, followed by Norway, the USA, Canada and Japan. “It important to note that all registrars are available around the clock. Also, the full online registration system will be released shortly”, he said. Mr. Tsiftsis also added that “our reputation is built on trust. We welcome all types of vessels, but the technical and age characteristics of each vessel are also taken into consideration”.

From left to right, Dimitri Tsiftsis, Peter J. Goulandris, Capt. Dwain Hutchinson

Mr. Goulandris also added that the Bahamas is now finalizing a new Merchant Shipping Act, which will offer us additional flexibility to help Greek owners, both financially and in terms of registration. Regulations is the largest part of this Act, which has already been voted by the Bahamas’ Parliament. We’ll be able to change our tactics in correspondence with the various regulatory changes and in line with our clients’ needs”, he concluded.

Dimitri Tsiftsis

The CEO and Managing Director of BMA, Capt. Dwain Hutchinson, highlighted the fact that the Bahamas is not merely a flag state, but rather a coastal and port state with various agencies, that can fulfil the legal requirements towards shipping. He also noted today’s three big issues for ship owners: 1) Environment (future/alternative fuels), 2) Seafarers (Crewing, MLC2006 Review) and 3) Innovation (technology/digitalisation).

Attendees were also able to be informed on the latest IMO MEPC80 session and the intense negotiations which took place to reach a decision. The presentation was held by Capt. Ghulam Hussain, Deputy Director of Maritime Affairs. Capt. Hussain highlighted several key facts, one of which was that 2028 will be the next review date of the regulations now in place.

A second presentation on ‘ General PSC Overview ‘ was held by the Deputy Director of Inspection & Surveys, Stephen Keenan.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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