Minister of the Environment, the Hon. Earl Deveaux has announced that the Bahamas Government is looking to amend legislation to help boost the maritime industry. His comments came during yesterday’s media conference on the Bahamas International Maritime Conference and Trade Show (BIMCATS), scheduled to open next week in Grand Bahama.
The event is being hosted by the Ministry of the Environment and the Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA), and Minister Deveaux anticipates that a key topic to be addressed by various industry experts will be how to maximize profits in the shipping industry. "In particular, we are looking to focus on the wealth management linkages," Minister Deveaux said. "The maritime sector greatly complements our financial services sector. It has a huge draw for employment because the captains, stewards, dockhands and all the services these boats require add immeasurably to our overall tourism product and the second home market. Many of the people that own large boats have second homes and have lots of money."
He added, "A lot of boats and mega yachts come to The Bahamas and many are registered elsewhere. So we are aggressively pursuing ways and means to amend our legislation to attract registering some of these vessels here." As The Bahamas currently ranks as the third largest ship registry in the world he believes there is a lot more money to be made in the maritime industry. The BMA generates approximately $15 million annually based on ship registry fees.
The proposed amended legislation reportedly will include laws that adjust the customs and tax regime. The Bahamas recently enacted an Arbitration Act, a feature of great value to international shipping. Other topics expected to be up for discussion at the second annual BIMCATS include climate change and the international shipping industry, as well as careers available in the field. "Our dream is to increasingly expose Bahamians to these opportunities," the Minister said. "Think about it. On a very basic level, nursing, hairdressing, cooking, all the things you do in a hotel can be done on a ship on a two-week interval, six-week interval or three-month interval."
The conference and trade show will be held February 9-12 at Our Lucaya Beach & Golf Resort, in Freeport, Grand Bahama under the Theme *"The Maritime Sector and the Environment".*