BVI News

Boat owners told to insure before hurricane season

PRESS RELEASE: Owners of vessels operating in the Virgin Islands waters are reminded to properly insure their boats before the beginning of the 2018 hurricane season.

In accordance with The Merchant Shipping Act of the Virgin Islands, every vessel, including pleasure and commercial boats, whether unregistered or registered in the Virgin Islands or overseas is required to carry insurance coverage against risks and loss or damage to third parties, and against wreck removal expenses.

The act further states that an owner or operator of a boat which is not insured as required above commits an offence and is liable upon summary conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty thousand dollars.

Acting Director for the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry and Receiver of Wrecks, Captain Raman Bala said the catastrophic effects of hurricanes Irma and Maria not only affected the entire Virgin Islands but that they were also very harsh on boat and ship owners.

The Captain said: “There has been widespread damages and wrecking of vessels. The owners of those vessels that carried insurance have been properly compensated and boats disposed of. There are still hundreds of boats that are uninsured and most appear to be abandoned by their owners on our beaches, private lands and coast. If these boats are not removed, there will be direct consequences to the economy in terms of environment, tourism and conduct of commerce.”

Captain Balla added: “Even if the government discard these boats, there is provision in the law to recover the costs from boat owners. Therefore, it makes great sense to insure these vessels well in advance to the 2018 hurricane season.” For more information, persons should contact the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry Department or the Receiver of Wrecks via telephone at (284) 468-9646 or via email at

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1 Comment

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  1. Retired says:

    Marine insurance is more complicated than this MSA 2001 law for the BVI implies.

    3rd party liability insurance is readily available and affordable in the marine insurance market.

    Wreck removal insurance is a Protection & Indeminty Club(P&I)coverage that is difficult for vessels under 24 metres to purchase.

    Salvage is a Hull & Machinery insurance that is now very expensive for all vessels based in the Eastern Caribbean.

    Would/could the BVI government even enforce this law?

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