No multimillion-dollar advertising campaign could equal the sight of a mega-yacht flying the Cayman Islands flag while cruising off the coast of an exquisite location or moored in one of the world’s most prestigious ports. Cayman’s “red ensign” has proven to be one of our country’s most powerful marketing devices, making Cayman synonymous with the very idea of luxury.
Perhaps what makes the red ensign such an effective strategy is that it promotes Cayman: 1) to a much-desired demographic (wealthy investment class), 2) where they tend to congregate (exclusive destinations), and 3) via their own valued status symbols (mega-yachts).
Many of the world’s most impressive, and expensive, vessels fly the Cayman flag, for practical reasons that are far more substantive than “brand awareness.”
Insiders praise the speed and efficiency of our system, in which registry, safety and administration all are handled by a single entity. They recognize the flexibility allowed through Cayman’s Merchant Shipping Law, including registration types and ownership structures, and the freedom to employ competent crewmembers of any nationality. They appreciate Cayman’s tax neutrality and competitive fee environment and respect the technical expertise of Cayman’s Maritime Authority. Vessels registered in Cayman are considered British, entitling them to British Consular services and Royal Naval assistance around the world.
We welcome the news that the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry continues to grow, with 2,215 registered vessels as at the end of last year, including 1,897 pleasure vessels and 318 commercial ships. As the Compass reported on Tuesday, Cayman’s dominance of this important market is expected to continue. Currently, owners have reserved names for 84 vessels, and about 45 percent of superyachts (longer than 98 feet) being built are under supervision of the Cayman registry.
Perhaps because the shipping registry caters to such elite (and therefore numerically few) clientele, this segment of Cayman’s financial services sector is often overshadowed by other components of the industry. However, the registry can be considered a peer to lines of business such as company registration, banking and trusts, insurance and securities – and often plays a complementary role to these and other services.
As is true categorically for the financial services industry, Cayman’s shipping registry supports a host of related businesses, including maritime consultants and service providers that handle administrative details and assist with financing and insuring the vessels, and with hiring capable crews.
Elaborating upon Cayman’s strong seafaring tradition, our shipping registry and related businesses open a range of maritime career opportunities, including naval architecture, marine engineering, maritime administration and other fields.
Every year, the Maritime Authority (in partnership with the Ministry of Education) awards scholarships of up to $20,000 to young Caymanians pursuing undergraduate or postgraduate study in naval architecture, nautical or marine engineering, survey and administrative studies at overseas institutions. Applications for this year’s awards are due Thursday (Jan. 31). For more information, visit www.cishipping.com/our-organisation/maritime-scholarships.