The annual conference was held this year in the Isle of Man, bringing together 13 Crown Dependencies and UK Overseas territories entitled to register vessels under the famous British Flag. Once again it provided an excellent forum for open discussion and policy development aimed at retaining the high standards which have come to be expected from the Red Ensign Fleet.
Key points on the agenda, which were agreed at the conference, included:
- Endorsement for a new Categorisation Order from the UK Department for Transport (DfT) so that the smaller registries will be able to take on all ship types up to 400 gt and not only pleasure craft. This will be instead of the present limit of just 150 gt for commercial ships.
- Confirming that the new Large Yacht Code (to be known as LY3) is to be published and launched at the 2012 Monaco Yacht Show in September.
- Obtaining agreement in principal to a new streamlined process for maritime conventions, which will speed up ratification for Red Ensign jurisdictions without compromising quality;
- Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) acceptance of a reduced legislative framework for the Maritime Labour Convention for Registries which do not register vessels over 500 gt;
- A reminder to British Consuls overseas of their duties to support the interests of British and not just UK shipping worldwide.
Government delegates from the Falkland Islands, Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands attended the conference together with representatives from the UK’s DfT, FCO and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).
This year, up to 60 delegates attended the conference and their discussions focused on safety, legal, regulator, technical compliance and constitutional matters common to the various territories.
Lawyers, surveyors and those associated with the maritime world were invited to networking events within the framework of the conference.
The MCA helps each Red Ensign Group member to maintain the highest international maritime standards.
Holding the annual conference in a different jurisdiction each year keeps all the Group in contact and is key for the MCA to fulfil its role.