GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman — The Cayman Islands Shipping Registry has achieved recognition from the private sector as a top jurisdiction for vessel registration and a popular flag of choice.
It is a highly respected flag and a member of the Red Ensign Group with Category 1 status. The Cayman Islands is white-listed in all major international ports (the Port State Control Memoranda of Understanding or PSC MOUs), which has led to the Cayman Islands’ eligibility for entry into the prestigious United States Coast Guard (USCG) Qualship 21 programme. Qualship 21 is the USCG’s matrix system of extending recognition to "foreign" ships, which fly the Flag of a State which has demonstrated an excellent safety and pollution prevention record with respect to its ships.
The Cayman Islands is on the Paris and Tokyo MOU white lists. Earlier this year, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) published its annual Flag State Performance Table, which had 13 flag states leading the chart with exemplary performance indicators with Cayman being one of them.
Sherice Arman, Of Counsel at Maples and Calder said, “The continued popularity of the flag can be largely credited to the service provided by the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry. In fact, some vessels, which changed flags over the last few years, have moved back to Cayman because the levels of service and expertise are not the same in other jurisdictions – particularly with respect to the surveyors.”
Because of the stable political, social and economic environment in Cayman, coupled with the fact that the legal system is based on the English legal system and therefore provides a significant level of certainty, makes the Cayman flag an extremely popular flag for banks and financial institutions.
However, despite its strong position, there are a few challenges still facing the territory. The perception of the Cayman Islands as a jurisdiction can negatively affect Cayman-flagged yachts causing authorities in certain jurisdictions to make assumptions about tax compliance or non-compliance based on the flag.
“The shipping industry, like so many other industries, is built on confidence,” Ms. Arman added. “The owners, brokers, shipyards and other interested parties must be assured that the CISR is at the top of its game, in order for them to continue their support. With more competitors entering the marketplace, each investing in business development and marketing strategies, the Cayman Islands must continue to be seen as a significant player in the space.”
Owner of Fairport Yacht Support, Graeme Lord agreed the territory is still popular among the private sector.
“Cayman has great ease of access to surveyors and good office support. The registration and survey process has become very predictable which is very important to my company,” Mr. Lord said.
There is enormous opportunity for the growth and development of the shipping industry in the Cayman Islands – a potential significant enough to be considered as a third pillar of the Cayman economy in the long run. The potential lies in areas such as research and development, environmental studies, maritime law, naval architecture and servicing the enormous amount of commercial and leisure traffic that travels by the Cayman Islands daily.
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