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Old 08-09-2009, 02:45   #1
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BVI Now Requiring Stability Tests for Multihulls

Well it was bound to happen, but the BVI are now asking for a stability booklet to be produced for annual SCV inspections and multihulls are no longer excluded. This is for all boats under 24m operating commercially (for any form of financial gain for the owner) under a BVI flag.

The problem is that very few of the cats this applies to were ever built to MCA compliance therefore these weren't ever done from the factory so it might involve having these done by an MCA surveyor at a quoted cost of $2500-3000. Also the amount of customization that has occurred on most boats would void a 'standard' one anyway.
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Old 08-09-2009, 04:01   #2
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They appear to be using the UK standards which are sensible and in the past I have felt much more confident chartering in the UK than I did in the US because of the safety standards...especially from the point of view of the safety equipment required.
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Old 08-09-2009, 04:25   #3
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Small Passenger & Cargo Vessels < 24M

This has been in place since 2004 however the SB seems to have been ignored. I have now had a request to assist a P585 in getting one asap.
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Old 08-09-2009, 05:09   #4
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These sureveyors appear to know the rules

Caribbean Marine Surveyors (BVI) Ltd. : British Virgin Islands & the Caribbean : About Us

http://www.caribbeanmarinesurveyors....dance_note.pdf
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Old 08-09-2009, 05:19   #5
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Yes, Bill is one of the options yachts have to have the booklet produced.
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Old 23-09-2009, 23:41   #6
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This is a ridiculous request, been discussed on the TTOL BVI board at great lenght. Seriously doubt it is enforceable or logistically possible.
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Old 24-09-2009, 00:23   #7
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Enforceable? Yes! If you want a BVI registration (and further down the line the right to charter there)
Logistically possible? it's a very standard calculation. Quite possible and easily assessable by checking the max design weight i.e if a P585 weighs more than 28.5t it will fail, time for a diet before you get the calcs done.
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Old 24-09-2009, 09:50   #8
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This is the BVI, you know how well the smoking ordinance went. I doubt this will ever happen, can you imagine trying to charge every charter boat owner a couple of thousand for an unnecessary procedure, does the term mass exodus sound possible. This sight of land sailing, ridiculous.
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Old 25-10-2009, 17:54   #9
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Just sounds like another way for the BVI to shoot the cow that feeds them! Regulations can be good, but asinine regulations are just that!
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Old 09-12-2009, 03:39   #10
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A press release about this:

Wednesday, December 2 – In its ongoing effort to ensure the safe operation of vessels in the Territory’s waters, the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry (VISR) will as of February 1, 2010 fully enforce the Merchant Shipping (Safety of Commercial Sailing and Motor Vessels) Regulations, 2004.

In a marine circular, the VISR said a number of safety codes were introduced in the Territory and given effect through the Merchant Shipping (Safety of Commercial Sailing and Motor Vessels) Regulations, 2004, with the goal of achieving “a uniform safety standard for the small commercial vessel fleet operating in the BVI waters.” The regulations apply to all BVI small commercial vessels and to other small commercial vessels when operating in the BVI waters. The circular further states, “The strict enforcement of the regulations was delayed to provide the industry with sufficient phasing-in time, to gather experience and resources to enable full compliance with the safety regime in an economical and orderly fashion.”

However, the VISR is now moving forward with the next phase, the enforcement programme. To facilitate proper enforcement, officers from the VISR, Her Majesty’s Customs or the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force Marine Unit will board each commercially operated vessel to check for documents verifying vessel’s compliance. These documents include the “vessel’s registration documents; Small Commercial Vessel Certificate & Record of Safety Equipment on Board (SCV 2); stability letter or stability information booklet; skipper’s qualification and certificate (with STCW & Commercial Endorsement); crew certification and company/vessel’s trade licence.”

In instances where vessels are not compliant, prohibition orders may be issued, the vessel detained or legal action taken against the owner and master in accordance with provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act, 2001.

Chief Marine Surveyor in the VISR Captain Pat Nawaratne is encouraging all owners and operators of small commercial vessels to ensure full compliance before February 1, 2010. “When vessels are found to be non-compliant and enforcement action has to be taken, there could be a disruption in the operation of their business. It is therefore recommended that owners and operators of small commercial vessels ensure that their fleet is properly certified,” he stated.

According to the marine circular, “A recent study of the current status of compliance of BVI’s small commercial vessel fleet has revealed that while a large number of vessels have gained the required commercial certification there still exists a substantial number of vessels which have failed to obtain the necessary certification to be able to operate legally, as commercial vessels, in the BVI.”

Captain Nawaratne cautions that effective February 1, 2010, all non-compliant vessels will be subject to enforcement action. “At the VISR, we have a team of surveyors and inspectors to undertake the certification process. Owners or operators can contact our office to request an inspection, which is usually carried out within three days of receiving the completed application and supporting documents,” the VISR official explained.

He further stated, “Providing the vessel meets the necessary provisions, the Small Commercial Vessel Certificate will be issued on the same day that the inspection is completed. We also issue short term certificates in instances where vessels are found to be largely compliant but with minor deficiencies. In such cases, the deficiencies must be rectified within a specified period.”

The VISR is the Government agency responsible for implementing the maritime policies including shipping operations and safety of life at sea. The agency is committed to ensuring that vessels operating in the Territory adhere to the highest possible safety and operational standards.
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Old 12-12-2009, 13:28   #11
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I was a passenger vessel operator for many years and the Certificate of Inspection required a stability test conducted by the USCG to insure the suitability of the vessel's design for the load and waters it was authorised to operate in. This insures the safety of the public. Same applies to multis. I'm surprised this is new. BTW, what's SCV and MCA? Dave
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Old 12-12-2009, 13:57   #12
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MCA is the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, a UK executive agency working to prevent the loss of lives at sea and is responsible for implementing British and International maritime law and safety policy. Due to way things are, this is fast becoming the standard in the yachting industry.

The SCV code is the Small Commercial Vessels which is a legal requirement that vessels (up to 24 metres load line length) in commercial operation or charter use, carry no more than 12 passengers and/or cargo, comply with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Small Commercial Vessel and Pilot Boat Code of Practice and be issued with valid Certificates by a recognised Certifying Authority.

Interestingly, on cats the stability test is more relative than we think, It's not whether they fall over, more that will they still float or remain stable with a crash bulkhead compromised. There are a number of charter cats out there that have gained so much weight over the years that I doubt they would!
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Old 13-12-2009, 02:48   #13
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As a former Scrutineer for offshore races - no complaints - except that in this instance one gets the feeling that the BVI government and other interested parties see this as a money spinner. One option would be to examine/certify at no charge for all existing vessels for a period of 6 months. After that, introduce a sliding scale of reasonable fees for the SERVICE.
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Old 13-12-2009, 03:35   #14
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Perhaps you're missing the 'B' in BVI, technically it's UK territorial waters so they are just doing what is required. Having said that I'm sure there us an underlying desire to get some of the chaff out and replace them with larger, more profitable and compliant boats.
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Old 13-12-2009, 04:15   #15
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I wasn't aware that production catamaran stability had been a big problem in the BVI, or indeed anywhere else in the world.

I just got off a charter cat yesterday morning after a week in the USVI/BVI. Am I lucky to be alive?
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