Chandler Sands, Managing Director of Campbell Shipping and a featured speaker at the recent [Nassau Conference](, touts the huge potential for careers as seafarers, and calls on industry to meet the challenge of qualifying Bahamians to fill these roles. He estimates that a substantial number of new jobs can be created within in the maritime sector over the next 15 years, representing a new revenue stream for financial services providers.

The Nassau Conference 2011 was held June 15, 2011 at the British Colonial Hilton hotel in downtown Nassau, under the theme *“Wealth Management: Navigating Our Future”.* Now in its sixth year, the Conference continues to provide a high quality learning and information experience, delivered by well respected speakers – locally and internationally – who cover topics and issues that concern the financial services community.

A particular area where Mr. Sands sees a niche is the provision of consulting services relating to risk assessment and reputational management. The shipping industry presents “certain risks which may not have been properly assessed”, and this is where opportunity lies for financial services providers, according to Mr. Sands.

The shipping executive also espouses the need for forging better linkages between the maritime sector and other key industries. Clustering with the financial services and tourism sectors, for example, would add to what he describes as the “natural” advantages The Bahamas enjoys in maritime affairs. As an example, he points to the requisite skill sets for developing a regulatory framework, policies, procedures and contingency plans already prevalent within the financial services sector – and which can be harnessed for maritime sector development.

Nassau Conference participants were told that already the sector’s focus on seafarer qualifications has prompted steps to facilitate training opportunities. As of this fall, The College of The Bahamas will be offering three Bachelor’s degree programmes with the State University of New York (SUNY). The joint programme will allow students to complete 3 semesters at COB, four at SUNY, and the final semester back at COB; a partnership that should also make seafarer training more accessible and affordable. Campbell Shipping reportedly plans to recruit some 25 students for enrolment in the September 2011 programme. At the Conference, Mr. Sands also reported on plans to establish a Maritime Academy, and on talks currently underway with the Bahamas Shipowners Association to ensure that every Bahamian-flagged ship will have a trained Bahamian on board – also an integral part of the training process and career development within the sector.

The [Bahamas Maritime Authority]( (BMA), established in July 1995, has become a powerful voice in world shipping and influences the development of policies and legislation both nationally and on the international stage. The Bahamas Ship Registry is ranked third largest in the world, with some 1,650 vessels representing a gross tonnage of more than 53 million tons. It is ranked number one for cruise ship registration.