Press Release

Premier's Office
Virgin Islands Shipping Registry
Release Date:
Wednesday, 20 September 2023 - 5:01pm

The Government of the Virgin Islands has enhanced the capacity for the Virgin Islands Shipping and Maritime Authority to compete internationally with the passing of the Virgin Islands Shipping and Maritime Authority Act and the Merchant Shipping (Amendment) Act 2022.

The bills were passed in the House of Assembly on September 12 and will allow the authority to respond strategically to market trends through intensifying focus towards revenue generating activities. This is expected to contribute to maintaining and expanding the Territory’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), resulting in real income increases for residents.

Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Dr. Natalio D. Wheatley said, “Today we propose an additional improvement to our Register and Maritime Administration by establishing the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry as the Virgin Islands Shipping and Maritime Authority.”  

Premier Wheatley said, “The Virgin Islands continues to grow and advance; and as markets and commercial environments change, we too must change in order to remain compliant, to remain conversant, to remain relevant; and at times to remain competitive.”

Premier Wheatley said the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry (VISR) is the authorised agency under the Merchant Shipping Act and this amendment act will authorise the Authority in place of the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry.  He added that it also gives the Authority powers to appoint the Director, Surveyors, and the Registrar of Ships.

“Ultimately, the establishment of the Authority will further the Government of the Virgin Islands’ objectives of economic diversification and expanding the revenue-generating capacities of the Territory,” Premier Wheatley stated.

The Bill indicates that the transition will promote the self-generating revenue levels that will enhance the Territory’s company registration for the ownership and operation of shipping companies, and will increase the overall marketability of the Virgin Islands as a maritime tourism destination.

According to Director of the VI Shipping Registry Mr. John Samuel, there will the establishment of an autonomous Board is that will be in alignment with global flags international standards and in accordance with the Red Ensign Group of flags, in which Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Isle of Mann operate as statutory boards.

Mr. Samuel said the Board’s autonomous status will separate VISR from the Central Government administration.

“Operating under a Management Board will provide several advantages, including the Authority’s ability to manage its finances more effectively, heightened responsiveness, enhanced commercial administrative functions, and less bureaucratic constrains to conducting commercial transactions,” Mr. Samuel said.

This weekend, government officials are expected to attend the Monaco Yacht Show, which is a prestigious broker event that features superyachts providing the VI Shipping and Maritime Authority with an opportunity to reposition itself as an effective and modern service-provider.

The Government of the Virgin Islands remains committed to facilitating effective revenue management, and economic diversification, through employing robust economic policies and decision-making processes.


Sonjé Greenidge

Information Officer II
Department of Information and Public Relations (GIS)
Telephone: 468-2742