COVID-19 slashes 7% from Bahamas Maritime Authority revenues

While the COVID-19 pandemic caused the Bahamas Maritime Authority’s (BMA) revenue to drop more than seven percent during its last fiscal year, its board approved the remittance of an additional $4 million to the Consolidated Fund during this economic downturn.

Operating revenues declined by 7.5 percent from $16,890,305 in 2019 to $15,616,160 in 2020, according to the BMA’s annual audited report.

The BMA usually remits $220,00 per month to the government, however its board of directors said it agreed “to step forward and assist the Bahamas government by remitting an additional $4 million to the Consolidated Fund”.

This brought the total amount remitted to the government during the BMA’s last fiscal year to $8,282,144 and the total since the authority’s inception in 1995 to $104,018,535.

Regarding the decline in revenues, the BMA stated it tried to buffer itself from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“But our major clients – passenger ships, where the authority receives most of its seafarers’ revenues – were greatly affected resulting in lost revenues in the fourth quarter of the financial year,” the annual audited report states.

“In the 2020 fiscal year, the net operating costs of the authority was $10,121,404; an increase of $93,900 compared with the 2019 costs of $10,027,504. The increase is mainly due to an increase in the right of use depreciation and operation charges increasing.”

The authority’s contribution to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2020 dropped slightly to $1,780,953 million compared to $1,785,122 in 2019, due primarily to a favorable British pound/US dollar foreign exchange rate in 2019/2020, the BMA stated.

As at June 30, 2020, the BMA had 1,510 ships on its register.

During the fiscal year, 51 vessels at 3.1 million gross tons were registered and 93 vessels at 3.59 gross tons were registered. This resulted in a net decrease of $492,339 in gross tonnage.

By gross tonnage, 43 percent of registered ships were tanker ships, representing the largest component; 16 percent were bulk carrier ships; 14 percent were passenger ships; 13 percent were offshore ships; six percent were roll-on, roll-off ships; 3.5 percent were general cargo ships; three percent were container ships; one percent were reefer ships and less than one percent represented other miscellaneous ships.

“For The Bahamas flag, we continue to attract the eminent and most respected shipping companies in the maritime industry, who are not only leaders in their 

sectors but are also pioneers in the industry through their adopted ethos, operation practices and with their technically advanced and innovatively designed ships,” the report states.

“The authority remains the largest flag for passenger ships with over 160 passenger ships registered, while there are preparations for additions to our world-class fleet with new and prestigious passenger ships and ship owners planning to register; a top flag for LNGs with one of the world’s largest fleet of gas carrier ships of some 112 LNG/LPG, totaling over 11.4 million gross tonnage being registered with us at the end of June 2020; and a flag for offshore vessels, with an increase in tonnage to over eight million gross tonnage noted on our register by the end of the fiscal year, occupying some 15 percent of our fleet by the number of vessels,” notes the report.