The first meeting of the Cayman Islands Shipowners' Advisory Council is being held in Grand Cayman on 25 & 26 April. The council was established following a government initiative to form a closer working relationship with the shipowners and managers whose ships are registered under the Cayman flag.

At a press briefing before the council's first meeting on Thursday, Deputy Financial Secretary Joel Walton explained that while the Shipping Consultative Committee is already being used as a local forum for the industry, the advisory council will take the consultative process a step further.

"Government has open consultation with other sectors of the financial services industry, and this council will give us the opportunity to engage in similar consultation with shipowners on the Cayman Islands Ship Register," he added.

Capt. W. Barrie Rial, Chief Marine Surveyor of the register said the council will focus its discussions on issues facing the shipping industry in general, and on ways in which the Cayman register can apply and develop its laws and regulations to improve its service, quality and status.

Seven ship owners sit on the council and the honorary chairman, Mr Andreas Ugland, Snr., added that while the registry is well developed, the council will work together with the government to make it even more attractive. "We want Cayman to be known as a very high quality register and we will be looking closely at international rules on safety and quality, and at environment issues to make sure that the register is adhering to international standards."

Peter Pylant, Marketing Director for the Cayman register, added that since the shipping industry undergoes rapid changes, the council will help Government to get direct and regular feedback from shipowners and managers on the issues that concern them.

On the inaugural meeting's agenda is the discussion of new developments for the register, the legal aspects of the local shipping industry, and marine insurance as it applies to the Cayman Islands flag.

The shipowners on the council are Mr. Ugland, Chairman and owner of The Ugland Group; Capt. Klaus Backstrom, Senior Captain of Falcon Drilling Co.; Capt. V Maltezos, Chairman of the Mayfair (Hellas) Co.; Mr John McKenzie, Managing Director of Kirk Freight Line; Mr A Mouzouropoulos, joint Managing Director of Furness Withy (Shipping) Ltd; Mr H Sargeant, Chairman of Sargeant Marine Inc.; and Mr W Thompson, Managing Director of Thompson Shipping.

Capt. Rial said this is a fair representation of the Cayman registry for an initial council meeting. It is expected that the council's membership will expand as necessary.

For further information contact:
Sam Hudson, Cayman Island Press Office

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