Minister Coleby Davis – Merchant Shipping Bill

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NASSAU, The Bahamas — The Hon. Jobeth Coleby-Davis Minister of Transport and Housing made her contribution to the passage of the Merchant Shipping Bill in the House of Assembly recently.

“Being cognizant of the urgent need for a modern Merchant Shipping Act (MSA) and to retain The Bahamas’ competitive status as a leader in the maritime sector globally,” the government recognized the critical importance of bringing this legislation to Parliament, said Minister Coleby-Davis.

The Merchant Shipping Act, Chapter 268, Statute Law of the Bahamas (“the Act”) was enacted by Parliament in 1976. The Act made provisions for:

  1. The registration of ships; The control, regulation and orderly development of merchant shipping; The proper qualification of persons employed in the sea service; and the Regulation of the terms of service of persons so employed.

  1. The Bahamas is a member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) said Minister Coleby-Davis, which is the United Nation’s specialized agency responsible for the development of International Convention, Codes and guidance in relation to maritime safety, security and the prevention of pollution from ships and training for seafarers.

“The principle IMO Conventions being the Safety of Life At Sea Convention (“SOLAS”), the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (“MARPOL) and the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (“STCW”),” she said.

“The alignment of the Bill with the environmental regulations particularly recognizing the need to counter the devastating effects of Climate Change and any implications to our fragile marine ecosystem upon which we are very much reliant whether through tourism or fisheries or broader finance is important.

“When the Prime Minister joined other world leaders in Glasgow to participate in the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), Hurricane Dorian and the existential threat to small island states like The Bahamas was very much at the forefront of our consideration,” Minister Coleby-Davis said.

“In this context, our legislative will aim to incorporate environmental requirements to address the adverse environmental impact from ships so as to protect our oceans, prevent or reduce pollution and promote biodiversity.”

The Bahamas is a member of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Agency responsible for the development of standards and policies for labour and decent working conditions for seafarers. The principle ILO Convention for being the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC 2006) Minister Coleby-Davis said.

Source: Bahamas Information Services, By Stirling Strachan