Who We Are And What We Do
The role of the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry (VISR) is to implement the Maritime policies of the Government covering shipping operations, safety of life at sea, security and the prevention of, and response to, pollution from ships. The VISR also enforces the regulations applicable to Virgin Islands vessels wherever they may be, and for all vessels navigating in the territorial waters of the Virgin Islands. The VISR develops appropriate standards of training, evaluation and certification for Virgin Islands seafarers and on-shore staff in accordance with the respective needs of international and domestic shipping and the BVI maritime industry, and it provides timely, accurate and appropriate information and advice to the Government, public and private sector organisations and the general public. Ship registration provides a revenue stream to the BVI through the registration fees for ships and seafarers, and also for the corporate registration of the companies set up in the BVI to own and represent the ships. Ships registered in the BVI are British Ships and fly the Red Ensign. The UK Secretary of State for Transport has the general superintendence of the Red Ensign Group of Registries (REG) in all matters relating to merchant shipping and seafarers. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is the executive Agency of the Department of Transport responsible for maritime administration and has a supervisory role to ensure that the VISR (and other REG administrations) maintain the highest international standards in accordance with their obligations under the Conventions and in line with UK policy.
The Red Ensign flown by BVI ships provides a highly valued guarantee of the integrity of the registration process and the ability to record and legally prove a mortgage under English Law. We also benefit from not needing to duplicate the technical research and development work proper to a quality maritime administration carried out by the UK MCA, while being free to establish our own approach to customer service and create our own economic regime consonant with the policies of the BVI and the expectations of our customers. As well as the British Virgin Islands, the Red Ensign Group comprises the shipping registries of the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man, Channel Islands (Guernsey and Jersey), and the eight other Overseas Territories (Anguilla, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, St Helena, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands).
Maritime Coastguard Agency
The strategic development of maritime matters in the BVI, and promotion to Category 1, has been strongly supported and encouraged by the MCA. Close liaison with the MCA enables us to adapt international best practice while building on our Caribbean heritage to create a registry unique in the Red Ensign Group: one that safeguards the needs of domestic shipping while serving our international customers, with a single organisation physically located in the BVI.