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Cayman Islands Amend Maritime Laws

by Robert Lee,, London

27 September 2007

The Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands (MACI) has welcomed changes to maritime legislation that include measures to improve the services provided by the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry (CISR), a division of MACI.

The recently enacted amendments include changes to the Merchant Shipping Law (2005 Revision) or MSL 2005, and the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands Law, 2005, (MACI 2005)

Under the revisions, the range of countries in which a person or other entity may be eligible to own a Cayman Islands ship has been extended by including those countries which are currently listed under the Third Schedule to the Cayman Islands Money Laundering Regulations. Ship-owning entities in those countries are now able to register ships in the Cayman Islands. Prior to the recent amendment, qualifying countries only included the 25 European Union countries and their 50-plus overseas dependencies, countries and territories.

Two additional Ports of Registry (The Creek and Bloody Bay) have also been added to that of George Town. The primary reason for the two additional ports of registry is to be able to provide more customer choice and options, while also catering to those owners who wish to have a Port of Registry which reflects the sister islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. This amendment will also allow similarly named vessels to be registered under more than one of these ports under the Cayman Islands flag. Nevertheless, all processing of registration documents will remain in George Town, and no offices will open in The Creek, Cayman Brac or Bloody Bay, Little Cayman.

In appropriate circumstances, flexibility may be exercised regarding the period of validity of a Certificate of Registry. Such conditions will better cater to the varied circumstances under which registration needs to be effected, thereby providing improved registration services.

Other amendments to MSL 2005 include the introduction of updated terminology with respect to UK Overseas Territories and references to seafarers; the revision of existing provisions regarding seafarers' wages to maintain the appropriate level of protection under international requirements, ensuring that Cayman continues to meet its international obligations; and the introduction of provisions to ensure that the Cayman Islands are able to take full advantage of emerging international requirements regarding the levels of compensation available to the Islands in the event of a ship-generated major oil pollution incident.

The amendments to the MACI 2005 Law include changes to the way in which the MACI Board is appointed, in order to keep such appointments in line with current best practices, in addition to provisions which have been made to introduce a more appropriate level of flexibility with respect to the terms and conditions of recruitment and employment of MACI personnel.

CEO of MACI and Director of the CISR, A. Joel Walton, commented: "All of these changes will allow MACI to operate in a more efficient and effective manner while continuing to give Cayman's shipping sector a competitive edge globally."

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