Shipping industry increasingly drawn to Bahamas’ vibrant maritime scene.

Shipping industry increasingly drawn to Bahamas’ vibrant maritime scene.

The Bahamas boasts the third largest maritime industry in the world, with the Bahamas ship register increasingly the flag of choice for high-value ship owners. With one of the world’s busiest container ports, it’s estimated that more than 50 million gross tonne of ships fly the Bahamas flag.

The expert maritime lawyers at top Bahamas law firm ParrisWhittaker has experience in shipping and admiralty law, and are ready to advise clients from multi-national corporations with a well-established practice to those just considering registering their vessel under the Bahamas flag.

A tempting prospect

What makes the Bahamas such a tempting prospect for the shipping industry?  The Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA), which is responsible for vessel registration and ship safety requirements, has some unusual features which contribute to the Bahamas’ reputation as a major international transhipment centre:

  • Generally, only vessels under 12 years of age can register under the Bahamas flag;
  • Older vessels meeting stringent requirements may be able to register;
  • The BMA’s network of Nautical Inspectors are internationally available to advise and assist captain and crew of Bahamas-registered vessels, wherever they are;
  • As long as a vessel is engaged in trade outside the Bahamas, a foreign owner can hold title to a Bahamian flag vessel;
  • The Bahamas does not impose tax on income or capital gains;
  • Registration and annual fees for vessels engaged in commercial foreign trade are highly competitive.

Expert advice for foreign vessels

With such a tempting maritime environment, more and more foreign-owned vessels are seeking registration with the BMA. Foreign-owned vessels must be less than 12 years old, at least 1,600 net tonnes and engaged in foreign trade.

The experts in shipping law at Bahamas firm ParrisWhittaker have advised many of the shipping companies and vessel owners currently on the Bahamas register – and are equipped to advise vessel owners from any jurisdiction. In order to build a successful shipping business and avoid falling foul of complex maritime legislation, securing expert legal advice from a Bahamas law firm is essential. Key aspects on which ParrisWhittaker can advise include:

  • Establishing eligibility of a foreign-owned vessel for Bahamian registration;
  • How to start the registration process;
  • Financial matters including taxation and custom duties;
  • Negotiating documentation requirements and ensuring accurate and effective submission of necessary forms.

ParrisWhittaker: Bahamas shipping law experts

A defining feature of admiralty and shipping law experts Parris Whittaker is our unique understanding of the Bahamas maritime industry. During our decades of work in maritime law, we have built up relationships with port authorities and bodies such as the BMA. We provide expert legal advice which combines in-depth knowledge of the complex legislation surrounding the shipping industry with a deep understanding of what makes the Bahamas such a unique and exciting maritime centre.

Whatever your needs, contact Bahamas lawyers ParrisWhittaker now at for expert, effective legal advice on all aspects of admiralty and shipping law.