Maritime Week aims to give boost to local economy

John Aune, Charlie Kirkconnell, Wayne Panton, Sherice Arman, and Alasdair Robertson discuss Cayman Maritime Week at a press conference Wednesday.

Organizers of the inaugural Cayman Maritime Week say they anticipate it will have positive long-term effects on the Cayman Islands economy.

They hope the event, slated for May 2-4, will help forge new partnerships with shipping industry professionals, lead to the registration of more ships in the jurisdiction, and create future job opportunities for Caymanians in a growing maritime services industry.

The event is designed to attract maritime industry leaders, shipowners, yacht brokers, managers and other professionals and to inform them of the latest maritime industry news, technologies, trends and innovations and Cayman’s role in the sector.

Speaking at a press conference Wednesday, Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton described the importance of the event not only to the shipping industry, but also to the Cayman Islands’ economy as a whole. “I think, in short, it will promote the capabilities overall of our maritime sector. Of course it will also help very much in promoting our tourism sector and industry as well,” Mr. Panton said. “But while the short-term benefits of the conference are important, what I’m really more interested in seeing is a long-term impact on our economy.”

The minister said he hopes that the event will join other financial services events on Cayman’s annual calendar and “inspire local entrepreneurs to consider and continue to build on business opportunities within the maritime industry and our local economy.

“This is another aspect of the long tradition that the Cayman Islands has had as a seafaring jurisdiction and I hope that this will help to promote that further,” Mr. Panton said.

Charlie Kirkconnell, CEO of Cayman Maritime Services Park, part of the Cayman Enterprise City Special Economic Zone, said that while many may assume that a career in the maritime industry means going to sea, there are plenty of opportunities in the technological side of the industry that do not require time at sea.

The event will address the technological side during a conference hosted by Digital Ship, a shipping IT news publisher and maritime event hosting company.

John Aune, deputy director of Cayman Registry, said Maritime Week will hopefully bring on board more ship owners who are not already clients of the registry, which currently consists primarily of private yachts.

The fourth annual Mare Forum, an event for the Cayman Islands Ship Owners’ Advisory Council, will be held on May 2.

The next day, CISAC will host a public forum before the ship owners move into a private session.

On May 4, the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association will host a business luncheon and co-host an environmental conference with the North American Marine Environment Protection Association, which will be headlined by Guy Harvey.

“The rising tide lifts all boats and Cayman has the makings of a very successful maritime services sector,” WISTA president Sherice Arman said. “We have developed a significant commercial vessel registration practice … have a very successful financial services sector … and have a maritime services cluster that has been developed with special concessions to encourage maritime industry to develop a presence there. If we could develop all of that together we would all benefit.”