Hellenic Shipping News interviews Mr.Nigel Smith, International Registrar of Shipping & Seamen. The registry of St.Kitts & Nevis, established under the Merchant Shipping Act No.24 of z002, is sailing ahead at full speed since its
first ship registration on the 2nd of February of 2005.Since then, the international open Register from the small Eastern Caribbean twin-island federation (1,300 miles southeast of Miami, Florida) has managed to register a total of 334 ships, at a rate of 13.9 vessels on a monthly basis. The total gross tonnage of the vessels is 965,000 and the dwt 898,000 tonnes. As of the end of January, the registry had a total of 285 ships under its flag. According to Mr. Panos Kirnidis, Maritime Registrar and Managing Director for the Hellenic branch of International Shipping Bureau, St.Kitts & Nevis is home to about 45 Hellenic-owned vessels, with a roughly estimated dwt of 60,000 tonnes. In a recent presentation of the Registry in Hellas, Hellenic Shipping News had the opportunity to interview Mr. Nigel Smith, International Registrar of Shipping & Seamen for St.Kitts & Nevis, on the occasion of the Registry's agreement with the classification society of Hellenic Registry of Shipping. The full text is as follows:
"“St.Kitts & Nevis achieved an agreement with the Hellenic Registry of Shipping according to your words? What does this agreement entail?
IMO have brought out a standard agreement between flag state administrations, such as St.Kitts & Nevis and classification societies, to allow the flag states to delegate surveys of ships and issuing of statutory certification for IMO conventions. It is what they call a model agreement and we?ve gone down the route of adapting that model agreement very slightly with the classification societies and signed that agreement. This then lays down our responsibilities within the agreement and the responsibilities and work that the Hellenic Registry of Shipping will do.
"“Does the Registry have any incentives besides the 50% discount rate of registration fees for a ship owned by a St.Kitts & Nevis corporation?
Well, we don?t want to be the cheapest registry and we?re not going to go into an auction, if somebody comes to us and says that he wants to register his ship by mentioning the fees of cheaper registries than ours. We have what we consider good selling points, we?re growing rapidly, particularly within smaller ships and I think the incentives we have at the present time are sufficient. Of course, business is always under review and we will look at other incentives. But I don't think we are offering anything that puts us at a disadvantage towards any other open registries. In terms of fees I would say we're pitched in the middle. Our fees are based on a sliding scale depending on the size and type of the ship and they comprise various elements. For example if the ship falls into ISPS there are additional fees.
"“ What are the Registry's goals this year in terms of additional tonnage?
Actually, I have no specific goals because the original business plan to the government was thrown out the window after about eight months, because we were doing better than we considered. But as a goal, I would say more than 500 ships in the Registry by the end of the year and 1.5 million dwt; that's what we're aiming for.
"“ Which nationalities in terms of vessel-owners are the biggest in the registry?
The beneficial owners are mainly from the Middle East region. About 35 to 40 percent of our business is coming through our offices in Dubai, Syria and Egypt and another 15 to 20 percent is coming from Southeast Asia, Russia and the ex-Soviet states.
"“ Are you planning to offer any types of new services?
We offer a ship registration service. The government's decision is that financial services are offered by financial services departments. We are aware that there are some entities running ship and corporate registries for countries, but at the present time it's not the government's decision to have one organization administering both and also because we have two separate corporate laws there, since we're a twin-island federation.
"“ What is a registry's biggest challenge in today's shipping environment?
With the regulator framework we have and the spotlight that is on everything to do with shipping, the biggest challenge is maintaining adequate controls on the standards of the ships we have, such as security aspects, environmental protection and the quality of the ships we have on the registry. Also, monitoring that and making sure that our ships are of a quality standard. We do investigate all port-state controls reports that we consider negative, whether it's a detention or not.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide