The Bahamas and Maritime Issues
The Bahamas' Ship Registry is one of the world's most prestigious, hosting 55 million gross tonnage on her register as of 1 December 2011, and retaining her position as the fifth largest in the world. The Bahamas' Registry continues to grow and her ships have a decreasing average age. The Registry's port state control detention record remains well below the industry average and consistently improves each year. As the size of The Bahamas' fleet has grown so also has her contribution to the budget of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), making The Bahamas at present the third largest financial contributor to the IMO.
The Commonwealth of The Bahamas has served on the Council from 1991-1995 and from 1999 - present. On 25 November 2011, The Bahamas was re-elected to the Council under Category "C" during the 27th Regular Session of the Assembly of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and so will continue to serve until November 2013. Recognising the importance of the work of the IMO, the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas became a member of the Organization in 1976 soon after gaining its Independence in 1973. Since that time The Bahamas has acceded to the major international Conventions administered by the IMO, including the SUA Conventions and their Protocols, as well as the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention (UNCLOS) and the 1958 United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. Most recently The Bahamas acceded to the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships, 2001 (AFS Convention) and the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, 2001 (Bunkers Convention). The Bahamas has also acceded to the International Labour Organization's (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention 2006 and ILO 185 (Seafarers Identity Documents). Since joining the IMO, The Bahamas has maintained active representation in all of its Committees and Sub-committees.
The Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) has been promoting The Bahamas' Flag since 1995. The establishment of the BMA, a statutory Government-owned Corporation, created a dedicated professional body with greater flexibility to manage the Bahamas' Register of ships. Bahamian-flagged vessels, owned by some of the world's major shipping and cruise line companies, all serve as a testimony to the Bahamas' maritime heritage and leadership. For more information, please visit http://www.bahamasmaritime.com