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St Kitts and Nevis Shipping Registry Makes Headway

by Robert Lee, for, London

09 November 2006

Speaking in advance of up-and-coming St Kitts and Nevis Shipping Registry's regional debut at the Seatrade Middle East Maritime (SMEM) exhibition in Dubai this December, Registrar Nigel Smith said ocean-going trade would dominate the Gulf’s rising export industry.

“As the Middle East’s political situation gets calmer, trade and exports within the region will grow and shipping will carry 80-90% of that growth in trade,” said Nigel Smith, SKANReg’s International Registrar of Shipping and Seamen.

The St Kitts government introduced the Merchant Shipping Act in 2002 in an attempt to broaden the Federation's attractions. The Act makes provision for the registration of ships and pleasure vessels in St. Kitts.

The Registry, which opened for business only in February, 2005, has made a good beginning with over 250 ships having been registered with a total deadweight of over 650,000 tonnes.

Recently the Registry was awarded its Quality Assurance ISO 9001: 2000 Certificate by ABS Quality Evaluation Inc. Manager of Certification of ABS QE, Mr. David Holden, presented the Certificate to St. Kitts and Nevis' High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Dr. James Williams during a ceremony on World Maritime Day, 28th September.

Speaking at the presentation, Mr. Holden stated he and ABS were pleased to be associated in helping SKANReg attain this award.

Dr. Williams praised the "magnificent efforts" of the International Registrar of Shipping & Seamen, Mr. Nigel Smith and the international network of Maritime Registrars many of whom were present at the ceremony.

The Quality Assurance Certification is the first step on the route to complying with all provisions of the STCW (Standards of Training, Certification & Watch keeping of Seafarers Convention) which the Government will now be assisting the Ship Registry in achieving.

Once achieved, this will increase opportunities for citizens of St. Kitts & Nevis, as Seafarer's Certificates issued by the Ship Registry will be acceptable for service on ships worldwide. The Department of Maritime Affairs has already been in correspondence with the regional office of IMO to facilitate this.

"The biggest challenge facing us is security related issues and the amount of discussion and decisions about such matters in IMO continues to grow," commented Mr. Smith. "This manifests itself in many matters to be addressed by any country's Maritime Administration". Mr. Smith also thanked his staff for their efforts in attaining the QA Certification.

Agreements have been reached with all major Classification Societies for the survey and certification of ships. Banks and shipping lawyers have accepted the Merchant Shipping legislation and operational procedures for the registration of ship mortgages. As a result of which some financial institutions are recommending their clients to SKANReg for ship registration if they require a ship mortgage.

The most recent development has been the decision by Mr. Smith's Group to open a technical office in Basseterre to assist the Department of Maritime Affairs with related matters and to register locally operated ships onto St. Kitts & Nevis International Ship Registry. This is expected to be operational by the end of November.

St. Kitts & Nevis International Ship Registry is also finalising plans to increase its attractiveness to yacht and pleasure vessel owners, which will again both assist local owners of such craft and increase the numbers of such craft on the Ship Registry.

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