Shipping Crew: Contact the Bahamas Maritime Lawyers at ParrisWhittaker For Expert Advice

Shipping Crew: Contact the Bahamas Maritime Lawyers at ParrisWhittaker For Expert Advice

A ship’s officers and crew are critical to the safe and smooth running of maritime vessels – whether they are used for business or pleasure. However, when things go wrong on a vessel the consequences are potentially disastrous. 

The expert maritime and admiralty Bahamas lawyers at ParrisWhittaker are experienced in advising ship owners and their crew and offices on their statutory rights, duties and responsibilities. Our Bahamas litigation lawyers also regularly advise clients when disputes involving shipping officers or crew members arise.

The Register of the Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA)

The BMA has more than 1500 vessels registered in the Bahamas since the 1976 Merchant Shipping Act (MSA) was passed.  It registers vessels, enforces ship safety requirements and works to continually monitor and improve standards. 

Requirements of Crew and Officers

There are clear and specific legal requirements relating to shipping crew and shipping officers under the MSA and The Applied Regulations. The Regulations govern:

  • the competency of officers;
  • seamen contractual arrangements;
  • discipline; and
  • accommodation of crew.

Under the rules, an agreement must be entered into with every crew member (with the exception of ships of 100 gross tonnes or less).  Officers employed on a Bahamian vessel must possess an Able Seaman certificate – with an English translation if necessary. 

Knowledge of English

Owners of Bahamas vessels wishing to hire crews must ensure their crew have sufficient knowledge of English to understand orders given to them in the course of duty - or adequate arrangements must be made to convey such orders in a language of which they have sufficient knowledge.


No person under the age of sixteen years is permitted to be employed on any Bahamian ship (unless it is a school ship or training vessel).

Wages and other benefits

There are strict requirements for the payment of crew wages, how and when they are to be paid, deductions and so on.  The MSA also sets out when crew members are legally entitled to vacation leave and public holidays, and how periods of sick leave impact annual holiday entitlements.

Crew’s accommodation

There are strict requirements for a ship’s accommodation provisions under the Merchant Shipping (Crew Accommodation) Regulations 1978. The requirements cover vital issues relating to ventilation, sanitation, heating and lighting, minimum floor area, and many other matters including a ship’s mess room and recreation rooms.

Provisions and water

The MSA sets out rights of crew members to make formal complaints in instances where provisions on a ship and or the water are of “bad quality or deficient in quantity”. An examination of the provisions/water may take place and compensation is available where a complaint is supported by such an examination.

The above matters are critical to the safety of both crew and passengers at sea.  Whether you are a ship owner, officer or crew member needing general legal advice on any issues, or you are involved in a dispute - the expert maritime and dispute resolution lawyers at Parris Whittaker can give you immediate advice.

For expert, strategic legal advice on admiralty law, and all issues relating to crew and ship officers in the Bahamas, contact the Bahamas lawyers at Parris Whittaker.  Contact Us.