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Bahamas: Offshore Business Sectors

Ship Management and Maritime Operations

See Offshore Business Review – Shipping for a more general treatment of offshore shipping registries.

The Bahamas established themselves as a shipping registry with the Merchant Shipping Act 1976, and due to a combination of geographical, financial and operational factors have been very successful, building the third largest world fleet. More than 1,500 vessels are registered in the Bahamas, totalling over 25m gross tonnes.

The Bahamas operate a 'flag of convenience' registry, which does not impose minimum wage or nationality standards on its ships. However, the Bahamas registry belongs to the International Maritime Organisation and adheres to its principal safety conventions. The Bahamas Maritime Organisation, headquartered in London, administers the registry, supervises initial and subsequent ship surveys through a world-wide network of authorised inspectors, and ensures adequate training and skill levels among the crews of Bahamian vessels.

Registration fees have been waived since July 1, 2011. Annual fees are as follows:

  • Ships/yachts not engaged in commercial trade: USD700;
  • Ships of 2,000 ton or less pay USD2,552;
  • USD0.20 per net registered ton for vessels between 2,000 and 5,000 tons, plus USD2,155;
  • USD0.17 per net registered ton for vessels over 5,000, plus USD2,305.



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