British Virgin Islands registry targets merchant shipping as new avenue of business

The British Virgin Islands is making plans to get its shipping register more focused on the merchant fleet. The Virgin Islands Shipping Registry (VISR) is best known for its yachting business, but the premier of British overseas territory, Andrew Fahie, has outlined details to beef up the flag this week.

Fahie will make VISR a government statutory body and is aiming to attract merchant ships.

“There is economic diversity where vessels can register in the BVI through company registers … It is important that we continue to improve our product offerings/deliveries and expand the services we provide to our clients and to attract other categories of vessels such as larger vessels — tankers, bulk carriers, container ships, and one day perhaps even cruise ships,” Fahie said at a press conference this week. Fahie also has portfolio responsibility for shipping.

“Vessels that have never come to the BVI can register here and perhaps we can structure our substance requirements to make it beneficial for shipping companies to have operational and management functions and offices in the BVI,” the premier added.

The Caribbean is already home to many flags of the merchant fleet such as Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, St Kitts & Nevis and Trinidad & Tobago.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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