BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, NOVEMBER 2ND 2006 (CUOPM)
Saint Kitts & Nevis’ International Ship Registry (SKANReg) has been 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.
Over 100 guests and business associates attended the presentation, which was the culmination of a one-day Seminar for SKANReg’s Maritime Registrars on Ship Registry business at which Dr. Williams and representatives of the St. Kitts tourism industry also gave presentations about the changes in St. Kitts & Nevis after the closure of the sugar cane industry, to the service-orientated employment opportunities.
The forthcoming Cricket World Cup 2007 and other developments in tourist industry were highlighted.
Dr. Williams thanked the Maritime Registrars for the work they had accomplished since SKANReg was launched in early 2005 and for their efforts in publicising the name of the Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis around the world.
Many Maritime Registrars took the opportunity to discuss aspects of life and business in St. Kitts & Nevis with the High Commissioner and his staff.
Mr. Smith also paid tribute to the support of Dr. Williams in the United Kingdom and the Director of Maritime Affairs, Mr. McClean Hobson.
He stressed that the business of operating a Ship Registry in today’s environment meant that one had to be prepared for swift action, a short decision making process and close Ministerial co-operation where maritime affairs crossed the boundaries between Ministries, to comply with a country’s international shipping obligations and to keep a competitive edge.
“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.
St. Kitts & Nevis International Ship Registry is stated by some industry observers to be the fastest growing Ship Registry for ships numbers. Since the start of operation in February 2005, over 250 ships have been registered with a total deadweight of over 650,000 tonnes.
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 this month.
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.
Additionally, it has been in discussions with industry bodies to create the right policy for the registration of fishing vessels to take account of the needs for correct regulation, reporting and monitoring of fishing activity to sustain international fishing stocks.
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.