With no immediate end in sight, COVID 19 continues to dominate everyone’s thoughts. Appreciating that this is a time like no other, The Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) has taken a number of steps to give practical support to its clients through this difficult period.
Along with providing detailed advice as to what action should be taken where there are suspected cases of COVID-19, the team at the BMA has implemented a number of temporary measures to help put minds at rest.
Where an inspection is required, whether initial, annual or pre-registration, and it has not been possible to carry out the inspection, ships are simply expected to inform the BMA of the delay and then ensure that it is carried out at the first port with an inspector available. Furthermore, pre-registration inspections have been waived until the end of June for ships under 20 years of age.
Similarly, the surveys team are authorising Recognised Organisations to consider applications for extensions of up to three months without the need for prior BMA approval. Where surveys and audits can be conducted remotely the BMA supports this approach.
For seafarers, the cost of the current pandemic has been particularly high with some forced to remain on ships well beyond the term of their contractual period. The BMA will consider this situation, as with the others, as force majeure and so not a breach of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006. However, these seafarers will be entitled to repatriation at no cost to themselves at one week’s notice as soon as travel to their home is considered safe and secure. Furthermore, STCW Certificates and medical certificates will be accepted as extended to the 1st of October 2020 if they expire while the seafarer is at sea.
These are unchartered waters for all of us but The BMA remains resolute, committed and determined to provide as much help and support as possible to all of our clients during these challenging times. More guidance can be found on The BMA’s website: https://www.bahamasmaritime.com/
Source: Bahamas Maritime Authority