The British Virgin Islands will soon have provisions in place which will allow cruise ship vessels to commence their trips from the territory.
This was revealed by Premier Andrew Fahie who recently moved the motion to have the Cruising and Home Port Permit Act 2021 passed in the House of Assembly.
According to the Premier, this new Act will allow for cruise ships to commence their sailing from the BVI, providing the territory more economic opportunities in the near future.
He said, “One of the innovative ways that we’re doing with the Cruising and Home Permit Act in terms of the amendments, is first of all to encourage the issuing of home ports right here in the BVI, so that we can encourage cruises in the future to start from here in the BVI and give a reduce payment to the ships per head and in other fees if they start their cruises right here in the BVI.”
“We may not start with the big cruise ships one time but at least those mid-range ones or the smaller ones will be able to start and who knows, you never know if we could start with the big cruise ships cause you can’t limit God and how he works for our territory,” he added.
Will have a spill over effect on the wider marine industry
Premier Fahie also said that Act once assented to will not only benefit cruise vessels, but also smaller vessels which will be able to capitalize on reduced fees once registering their boats in the BVI.
“This also will have a spill over effect not only for the cruise ships and starting cruises from the BVI, we’re thinking ahead and we’re thinking innovatively. We’re also looking at making sure that we have more boats that will be registered here in the BVI especially those on charter for a way smaller fee than those that would come to use our waters legally that are not registered in the BVI,” Premier Fahie stated
“So, we are also looking at how to adjust certain fees for the cruise ship during this time of COVID-19 and for this we’ve had a lot of consultation on this with the marine sector, they’ve handed in some of their recommendations and we also have the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry, Customs, Immigration, Ports and even Tourist Board has weighed in and we’re looking at how to attract more persons to the BVI from in this marine sector, not only in the home porting but overall,” he further explained.
The premier said his government has done a good job on finding innovative ways of having more traffic flowing through the BVI which will tremendously benefit the local economy.