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Red Ensign Group Conference Looks at Maritime Challenges

25 May 2023

The unique challenges of maritime and Coastal State responsibilities are coming under the spotlight at the annual Red Ensign Group (REG) Conference taking place in the Cayman Islands this week.

Key issues facing the maritime sector include supporting innovation and greener shipping, environmental and coastal concerns, as well as development and expansion of blue economies.

The conference, which oversees and upholds maritime safety standards across the 13 British maritime administrations, is meeting in the Cayman Islands to discuss best practice and to look at ways of improving the performance of the British Registers internationally.

Red Ensign Group members from across the world will be meeting to discuss maritime matters of interest at the event. It will also include sessions on the roles and responsibilities of Coastal States and will tackle issues such as decarbonisation, counter pollution and environmental concerns.

The REG Conference will also welcome new members from the Overseas Territories of South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands, Ascension and Tristan Da Cunha. While these territories do not have maritime administrations, they are responsible for coastal state obligations.

The event began today (Tuesday, 23 May) with an opening ceremony attended by Cayman Islands Government officials including Her Excellency the Governor Jane Owen, Premier Hon. G. Wayne Panton, MP, JP and Minister for Financial Services & Commerce Hon. Andre Ebanks, MP.

United Kingdom Maritime Minister Baroness Vere said, “Over the past 34 years the Red Ensign Group (REG) has set itself apart by establishing rigorous safety measures, to protect seafarers and uphold the highest maritime standards on British flagged ships. I am thrilled that we have come together again to share our experience and practices, to ensure that the Red Ensign flag reflects the standards we are proud of. With the excellent work of the REG, we have built on our rich maritime history reinforcing the values that British flagged vessels stand for.”

Katy Ware, Director of UK Maritime Services at the Maritime & Coastguard Agency and the UK’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization is co-chairing the event.

She said, “We continue to stand firm on the things that matter in maritime – the safety and well-being of our seafarers. We also work to drive forward innovation and future technologies – the planet needs greener shipping and we will do all we can to support achieving that. The Red Ensign Group is a powerful force for good in that work and the Conference demonstrates just what we can achieve together.”

As Minister with responsibility for the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands, Hon. Andre Ebanks said, “The Cayman Islands is proud to be among the membership of the Red Ensign Group as the conference addresses important environmental, cost, and safety issues affecting the maritime sector internationally. As a shipping jurisdiction with a long maritime history and a strong marine heritage we are keen to support and uphold the highest global standards while also expanding our own maritime industry and shipping registry.”

Conference Co-chair Joel Walton, Chief Executive Officer of the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands said, “We are delighted to be hosting this event in what is already a very special year for the Maritime Authority as it marks 120 years of ship registration here. It is a proud heritage of supporting maritime safety, against the backdrop of our seafaring history. We also continue to work towards protecting our beautiful coastlines, not just here but right across the Red Ensign Group. The work that is done here in Conference can have real and lasting benefits not just for us but for our precious marine environment.”

The REG conference began in 1988 as an opportunity for the registrars of the REG to get together to share ideas, harmonise processes and discuss ways forward. Since then it has expanded to cover seafarer welfare and regulatory matters as well as coastal preparedness including search and rescue and pollution response.

Every year it is held at different locations, reflecting the geography of the Red Ensign Group which consists of the UK, the Crown Dependencies of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man and Overseas Territories of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. For the first time, there will also be delegates from non-ship registry Overseas Territories of South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands; Ascension; and Tristan Da Cunha

The 34th Red Ensign Group Conference will be held from 23-25 May 2023 at the Marriott Grand Cayman Resort.

(ENDS)

Editors’ Note

There was no REG Conference held in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

L-R: Director of UK Maritime Services Katy Ware, Chief Executive Officer of the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands Joel Walton, Premier Hon. G. Wayne Panton, Her Excellency the Governor Jane Owen, Minister of Financial Services & Commerce Hon. Andre Ebanks

Her Excellency the Governor Jane Owen rings the bell to officially open the Red Ensign Group (REG) Conference

For more information, please contact financialservices@caymangov.ky

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