It will soon be mandatory for boats operating commercially in Barbados’ waters to be licensed, while leisure vessels must have the relevant documentation to show they are in good shape to be at sea.
Barbados’ maritime attorney Najla King announced that the Shipping Domestic Vessels legislation is on its way, and that law will clearly outline the Government’s new framework for how Barbados-registered commercial and small vessels, and also foreign visiting small craft vessels, will be governed.
As she delivered remarks during a panel discussion titled Telling Our Story, held as part of the BlueFest 2020 Week of Activities, King explained that the Barbados small vessel licence will be acquired of owners of vessels registered on the Barbados domestic register which only operate here.
“And what that means is for you to use your vessel to make a commercial profit for, you need to have that licence. We are moving away from the speed boat licence, and this is based on feedback from the industry, of the confusion they have had over the years; people asking what is a speedboat. So the collective term going forward is a domestic vessel, meaning a vessel that grosses 100.50 gross tonnes or below,” she said.
“For pleasure vessels which operate for leisure, they will need a pleasure vessel operators certificate of competency, which is documentation to say that you are competent to safely operate in the marine space; it is not a licence because you are not commercially operating, henceforth, the Barbados Small Vessel licence will not be required for leisure vessels.”
King added that in accordance with international standards and requirements, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs is implementing a system for marine notices to ensure that it keeps pace with the International Marine Organisation’s (IMO) legislative developments which she said unfolds at a rapid rate.
“So that, for example, when we put technical requirements into shipping regulations and subsequently thereafter there’s another addition or another amendment, we can simply publish it to mariners in a marine notice and because it would relate to those regulations and it is pursuant to the Act, it has to be complied with.
“So, this is another mechanism to ensure that we publicise mandatory technical information to the shipping industry in a timely and effective manner, and this will be coming under our new Merchant Shipping Act,” King said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Maritime Affairs and Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey, delivering remarks during the event, noted that while his Ministry has been making strides in improving the country’s blue economy, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley should be applauded for the role she has been playing in relation to being the driving force not only for Barbados but also for the Caribbean, through engaging international countries in serious conversations regarding climate change and protecting the ocean.
“We also have to stand. We can’t shout at our larger neighbours in the north, but we still have to be able to say to them very frontally that the things you are doing have an effect on us. We could ban plastic until the cows come home, we could go fossil fuel-free until the cows come home, but at the end of the day if these larger nations don’t change their ways and doing things differently, then it will be to the detriment of every single one of us in this room, in Barbados and in the Caribbean,” Humphrey said.