BVI News

Opposition legislator reports decline in registered vessels locally

Opposition legislator Julian Fraser is reporting that the British Virgin Islands has been experiencing a decline in registered vessels over the last few years.

While speaking a recent sitting of the House of Assembly in late 2019, Fraser said he was made aware of the statistics within the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry after making inquiries on the matter.

Fraser said he was “told that the registration was about 200 vessels every year but the figures have decreased to about 130 to 150 per year”.

The senior Opposition legislator said further inquires led him to discover that another British Overseas Territory in the region — the Cayman Islands — currently registers approximately 5,000 vessels annually.

Should raise concerns in the BVI

Fraser said he believes these statistics should raise major concerns considering that the local shipping registry was once favoured to potentially become another economic pillar for the territory when it was established years ago.

He, however, said the decline in vessel registration locally is being overshadowed by the issues currently plaguing the territory’s main economic pillar — the financial services sector.

“We continue to ignore these things or pretend that they don’t exist. How much longer can we keep this up?” Fraser questioned while addressing legislators in the House.

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  1. BVI says:


    Like 2
    Dislike 21
    • oh yeah says:

      We need a serious person like him for true not that fat joker who is giving out belonger status (1900) and work permits (990) like they are going out of style

      Like 2
      Dislike 15
    • Think says:

      One would think that with the disappearance of the financial sector and the supposed push on tourism that the government has been touting that an approach would be taken to streamline and make it advantageous to attract boat ownership in the BVI. BUT….like everything in the BVI, things are done to discourage anyone and anything but the Belonger. It’s ok though. The Belonger will continue to experience a slow agonizing death until the Brits come in and abolish the Belonger nonsense and restore honest rule of the Territory.

      Like 4
      Dislike 1
      • Rubber Duck says:

        Registering a boat in BVI is a nightmare of bureaucratic obstruction ( like most things ). Like many I have tried and ultimately gave up.

        Register on line on the British Small Ships Registry , cost about $40, and pay the $200 per year temporary import license in BVI for as many years as you like. (Though few actually pay that and there is no system for collecting it.)

  2. Capt Ron says:

    VISR has never been easy to deal with, and now it is even worse. Too many costly regulations to deal with based on old ways of doing things. You also can’t get a straight answer out of anyone. Ask 5 staff and get 5 different answers to your question.

    Like 13
  3. HAND IN DE BUSH says:

    the reason is once BVI registered Customs can charge 5% import duty… something VISR/Customs all know about and continue to not have the laws changed… If a boat is BVI registered and never crosses the Atlantic or even the Anegada passage Customs can go and impound that boat until the duty is paid… left hand has no idea what right hand is doing and VISR still loving their trips to Monaco etc, BVI Lawyers loving the work but no one tells the owners until Customs go knocking asking for their money….
    5% of the value…. allot of very cheap options around the world and still carry the Red ensign…..

  4. Unhappy With Government Waste says:

    Dealing with Registry is not easy. I went in to register a boat and was told by the head person they didn’t want walk-in or private owners trying to register and wanted me to pay an agent $800 to fill out the forms for me. Instead of being handed a complete set of forms with instructions I had to return three times before I was given all of them.
    As well, BVI registration makes crews subject to our Labour laws and the vessel subject to 5% duty if it stays here more than thirty days. Without a legislation change registrations won’t increase, which makes me wonder why they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to exhibit at the Monaco Boat Show each year; maybe time for an audit
    The inshore local registry is also archaic in that it requires a physical inspection each year and a physical visit to renew (Registering in St. Thomas is a one time visit with yearly fee payable with a credit card). This is a government agency which needs to be dragged into the twenty-first century and made to operate as a business.

    Like 15
  5. M/Y Dibble says:

    I saw and spoke with these guys at the Ft Lauderdale boat show as I was interested in registering my new yacht. They were rude and were trying to tell me who should be my captain rather than selling their services. Not friendly people at all. As such I walked to the Cayman register stand and they were welcoming and clearly wanted my business. Sorry but whoever is leading this show needs to step aside if the BVI is serious about becoming a leading registry.

  6. Deja vu says:

    We get people in government and regulation who know nothing about the industry and nothing about customer service to chase the business away, making it chaotic, expensive and frustrating. Labour, immigration, FSC, registries, all the same.

    We need serious investment in real world training and our people to have exposure to internationally unsuccessful platforms and models. We need the FSC and registry leaders to be replaced when there are consistent problems and not sitting in the ivory tower doing nothing while Rome burns. They have consistently shunned industry leaders and acted capriciously and unilaterally while often being completely misguided.
    Predictably, jobs because I bahn here have ultimately put the whole economy in jeopardy.

  7. Jerold says:

    I agree. The BVI Shipping Registry is the worst run department in the BVI. They are completely disconnected from the marine community.

  8. Guess what says:

    There is NO benefit for vessel to be registered in the B.V.I. Local registered vessels pay all the same charges as foreign vessels, except for a $8 cruising fee compare to $16 for foreign vessels.

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