To bolster the hard-hit marine industry, Premier Fahie said his government is exploring how legislation can be improved to prevent neighbouring charter vessels from entering territorial waters and conducting inter-island charters.
This practise currently takes business away from locally registered vessels that have a right to the BVI’s marine marketplace.
The concern about charter vessels from neighbouring jurisdictions benefiting from the BVI’s marine industry was raised at a public forum on Virgin Gorda earlier this week.
In addressing the concern, Premier Fahie
explained that a “loophole” currently exists in the local law that allows vessels from jurisdictions like the USVI to enter BVI waters through one port and travel to neighbouring islands to book business and conduct charters.
“One of the legislation that we will be bringing for amendment will include; that when [foreign] boats come to charter — similar to what exists in the US and USVI — the port in which they came to charter will be the port which they’ll be allowed to enter,” Premier Fahie
“We will be changing the laws so that they cannot do any charters inter-island in the BVI,” he said.
In addition to this plan, Premier Fahie
said the government will be adjusting the fees that locally-registered vessels pay to conduct inter-island charters. Fahie
said the fees will be made “very attractive”.
Though not expressly stated by the Premier, this fee adjustment has the potential to pull more companies and owners of charter vessels to register with the BVI.