BVI Looking Forward to Enter Larger Ship Market

Another international company has established physical presence at Road Town in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), and the territory’s Shipping Registry has announced an upgrade to Category 1 — meaning it can now register any class of vessel or freighter.

The announcement was made at a press briefing hosted yesterday by Premier Dr. D Orlando Smith, who also presented international company Svitzer Americas Limited with its certification to operate using the BVI Flag. The company, which is recognized as one of the largest global towing and salvage firms, is a subsidiary of Maersk.

Its representative Albert Snoei, after accepting the certification, disclosed an intention to have at least 20 vessels registered in the BVI by next year. He further stated that, one of the reasons the firm has opted to have a presence there is the BVI’s already world-recognised Shipping Registry, which now has been upgraded to Category One.

“I am fairly confident that this is the start of a very good and long relationship,” added Snoei. “This is special for us; something we have been looking forward to for quite a while (2002).”

He further told journalists that the industry is a very conservative one globally, and Svitzer Americas Limited would not have its vessels registered in the BVI if the territory had not demonstrated and surpassed internationally accepted standards.

Responding to the company’s move to operate locally, Premier Smith remarked, “We believe the decision of Svitzer Americas to open a management office in the territory, and to register their vessels under the British Virgin Islands flag is clear evidence that the government of the Virgin Islands is moving in the right direction in the ship registration industry.”

Larger ship market

While noting that the BVI already has registered more than 3,700 marine vessels, Premier Smith underscored the importance of the Shipping Registry being upgraded to Category 1.

“This is a historic occasion as the government of the Virgin Islands, through the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry as its key maritime administration arm, continues to move forward with purposeful resolve to make this area of our economy stronger and more vibrant,” he told the media.

The premier further stated that, while the Shipping Registry has 3,750 vessels in its register consisting mainly of yachts and tugs, the upgrade to a Category One register will see the territory being in a position to enter the larger ship market.

“In our continued efforts to be responsive to our clientele particularly in the European market, this year my government opened a London office of the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry, and placed a Business Development Manager to market the registry, respond to clients in the UK and EU sector, as well as attend to their survey, certification and registration needs,” added Premier Smith.