Maritime security and Brexit’s impact on the operation of ships flying under the Union Jack were among topics at the Red Ensign Group Conference in the Cayman Islands, where shipping authorities and regulators from across the Commonwealth met last week.
The annual Red Ensign Group meeting allows the U.K. and its Crown dependencies and overseas territories that operate shipping registers to share best practices, both in terms of commercial success and international maritime standard setting. Participants also collaborate on optimizing the performance of the British register internationally.
The conference’s plenary session topics included the performance of the Red Ensign Group, international relations, sea-bed mapping, possibilities for partnerships and collaboration, and ratification of the Ballast Water Management Convention.
Joel Walton, CEO of the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands, said, “The quality of our commercial fleet is unquestionable, with a significant number of Category One [ships of unlimited tonnage and type] vessels, and we continue to feature prominently in all major Memoranda of Understanding involving top flags.”
Speaking of Cayman’s progress in this industry, he noted that December 2016 marked a new phase in MACI’s development, as the service focus expanded “from technical services to a broader commercial service perspective,” which includes a new emphasis on luxury-yachting clients.
Sir Alan Massey, chairman of the U.K.’s Red Ensign Group delegation, thanked the government of the Cayman Islands for hosting this year’s conference and shared a message from U.K. Minister for Shipping John Hayes, stating that the annual REG conferences are a vital fixture in the maritime calendar.
He said it is the reputation and the collective strength of the Red Ensign Group that remains its biggest asset. “It is therefore vital that we use this to good effect by working collaboratively to help promote the growth of the British Shipping Registers.”
At the opening ceremony on July 11 at the Marriott resort, Acting Governor Franz Manderson said it is “an honor to be part of the Red Ensign Group and the British fleet, which is synonymous with quality shipping, because of its high technical, social and administrative standards.”
Mr. Manderson added that the organizers had chosen the perfect location for the conference.
“Ours is a history steeped in seafaring tradition. Our forefathers were shipbuilders, seamen, fishermen and merchant marines. My own father and grandfather were included in those men who left our shores to ply the seas. Our ties to the sea are inextricable, and it is this passion that drives us to develop this industry in honor of those who went before us and for the generations to come,” Mr. Manderson said.