Nassau-based shipping companies are intensifying their efforts to attract more Bahamians to careers in the maritime industry.

*“There are a lot of opportunities,”* says John Moyell, Vice President, Clipper Group as the group prepared for the first **Bahamas International Maritime Conference and Trade Show** slated for Freeport, Grand Bahama. *“Great careers can be established. We work very closely with the Bahamas Maritime Cadet Corp to spread the word around for young Bahamians to be more interested in seagoing careers. We have young Bahamian cadets on some of our ships, but we sure do not have enough.”*

Beginning November 19 at the Westin at Our Lucaya Resort under the theme ***‘Opportunities in Trade and Maritime Services’***, the three-day conference and trade show will showcase the multiple facets of The Bahamas’ maritime industry, particularly as they relate to transshipment, trade, ship ownership, registry services and ship repair.

*“This will put The Bahamas on the map as a leading maritime country,”* says Mr Moyell. *“It is important that we have more activities relating to the maritime world taking place here.”*

Kamanna Valluri, Managing Director and President, Dockendale Shipping, said the company is looking forward to playing an even greater role in promoting Bahamian maritime cadets and engineers. *“There is a demand for them, and The Bahamas, having the third largest ship registry in the world should be taking more advantage of these opportunities,”* he says.

Minister of the Environment the Hon. Earl Deveaux says the conference and trade show *“is extremely good news for The Bahamas. It is a time when stakeholders come together to discuss issues facing the industry.”*

He met with Nassau-based shippers on Monday, August 25. *“There is great interest in growing the maritime industry and we have an early indication that people in the industry are prepared to substantially support an initiative to develop the maritime industry in The Bahamas,”* he said. *“Incredible opportunities await qualified Bahamians, and with the proposed amendment to the Boat Registration Act we can encourage more Bahamians to get involved in the maritime industry.”*

The Minister also noted that there is a huge and growing market for large yachts and that The Bahamas wants to expand its registry in that direction, which could open more opportunities for Bahamians.

Attending Monday’s meeting with Minister Deveaux were Kamanna Valluri, Managing Director and President, Dockendale Shipping; Erma Mackey, Deputy Director, Bahamas Maritime Authority; Minister Deveaux; Khaalis Rolle, Bahamas Ferries; John Moyell, Vice president, Clipper Group; Ellerston Smith, Chevron Bahamas; Michael Humes, Conference Committee Chairman; Anya Symonette, Ministry of the Environment’s Committee Liaison Officer; Lt. Cmdr. Herbert Bain, Port Department; and Capt Garnet Rolle, Senior Pilot, Nassau Harbour.