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The Cayman Registry - COVID-19 and beyond

GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman

The Cayman Registry has maintained operations during this unprecedented time by putting specific plans in place to continue to serve clients during the Global COVID-19 pandemic. The organisation has shown resilience due to robust quality management systems, IT systems and paperless solutions, with flexible, motivated employees all contributing to a smooth transition to remote working.


Many services were being processed electronically already, such as applications and renewals for Vessel and Mortgage Registrations, Survey and Statutory Documentation. For Crew Documentation, there is an online Portal where clients submit applications and supporting documents and online payments have also been accepted through the website for the last few years.


However, with the looming COVID-19 pandemic, early anticipation of the effects that restrictions would have on its functions ensured that employees could continue to function once the restrictions were put in place. This paid dividends as Cayman Registry was able to continue servicing its valued clients with minimal, if any, interruption in service. Representation in multiple time zones around the world enables the leveraging of resources from other locations where necessary, ensuring business continuity for clients. All global personnel are now working remotely to keep personnel safe while allowing them to continue to service their clients' needs effectively.


Although the past investment in effective systems provided for a smooth transition, the Cayman Registry continued to look for effective ways to assist its clients and maintain overall business continuity during the worst of the lock down periods.


One key area under consideration was the conduct of remote surveys and audits to assist in the maintenance of vessel and company Certification. All the Cayman Registry vessels that would be coming due for inspection were evaluated to determine the feasibility of allowing for remote inspections.  Whilst remote surveys are not, on the whole, considered a panacea, this exercise resulted in valuable lessons learned for post COVID times ahead.


In particular, the strategic decision taken many years ago to provide survey and certification services at key shipping and yachting locations worldwide has allowed the Cayman Registry to fully service clients as soon as local restrictions are lifted.

Throughout the lock down period the organisation has held daily survey planning meetings and bi-weekly global personnel meetings to ensure all personnel are kept up to date with developments, and aware of key strategic decisions as the pandemic progresses. Regular engagement with employees working remotely was recognised as key to ensuring the physical and emotional wellbeing of all during very difficult times, including its many independent contractors and representatives across the globe.


The Cayman Registry has also actively engaged with the Cayman Islands Shipowner Advisory Council and has published regular updates on how to deal with COVID-19 challenges affecting the shipping industry, from seafarer welfare to crew and ship certification. This engagement has been a dynamic process as the guidance from Government officials and industry stakeholders evolves. The Cayman Registry has continued to adapt its processes and procedures to be as efficient as is possible.


The priority during the COVID-19 pandemic remains the safety of their vessels and crew, along with the protection of the marine environment. They understand that in view of the ongoing and evolving situation with the outbreak of COVID-19, owners and managers of Cayman Islands’ registered vessels are facing challenges. Guidance Note 02/2020: Impact of COVID-19 on Operation of Cayman Islands Registered Ships has been issued, which outlines protocols for crew self-isolation, quarantine and other issues in relation to Cayman Islands vessels.


The Cayman Registry’s pragmatic approach ensures maximum responsiveness to the needs of ship owners whilst maintaining international standards at the highest level as demonstrated by its continued low risk, white list status on the major MOUs, namely Paris and Tokyo MOU as well as US Coastguards Qualship 21 status. These accolades earning the Cayman Registry the world-wide reputation for excellence and efficiency and helping to keep it the flag of choice.


 “Our focus will always be on the quality of the flag and the needs of our clients. As we continue to sail through the unchartered waters in the wake of COVID-19, Cayman Registry remains dedicated to maintaining an outstanding safety and quality record for the Cayman flag.” said Joel Walton, CEO of Cayman Registry.


He says it is thanks to the continued commitment of all the Cayman Registry’s employees and management along with the quality shipowners and partners who the Cayman Registry work with that has ensured the resilience and quality of the flag in these unprecedented times. “I would like to thank them all for their continued commitment to upholding these standards.”  


Even as pandemic restrictions slowly begin to ease, the Cayman Registry recognises that it must continually evolve and adapt to ensure its high level of service during these times, and this will be of paramount importance as the world hopefully returns to some degree of normalcy.

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