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Guernsey plays host to 30th maritime safety conference

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GUERNSEY is hosting an international maritime conference which upholds safety standards across 13 British shipping registers.

The Red Ensign Group’s 30th anniversary conference is under the co-chairmanship of harbour master Captain Chad Murray, left, and Sir Alan Massey of the UK’s Maritime & Coastguard Agency. (Picture by Steve Sarre, 21709772)

This is the Bailiwick’s first time hosting the Red Ensign Group conference, to which members from across the globe are invited to discuss maritime matters of interest.

The conference began in 1988 as an opportunity for the registrars of the group to get together to share ideas, ensure consistency in processes and discuss ways forward.

Since its incarnation, the event has grown to include business strategy, safety matters and policy.

Every year the event is held at different locations reflecting the geography of the Red Ensign Group, which consists of the UK, the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories such as Bermuda, the Falkland Islands and the Turks & Caicos Islands.

Co-chairman of the conference Sir Alan Massey, of the UK’s Maritime & Coastguard Agency, said this year’s 30th anniversary conference was special and thanked Guernsey for hosting.

‘The Reg conference is an annual milestone on the road to continuously improving the safety of British shipping and marking 30 years of that work is a reminder of just how far we have come,’ he said.

‘It’s extra special this year because every single Reg member is going to be represented. We don’t believe this has happened in the history of the Reg conference.

‘The changes are fast in the world of regulation, safety and telemarketing, so we need to come together to have these very important fruitful discussions.

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‘We are very grateful to Guernsey for representing it, as I know it’s a huge undertaking.’

Sir Alan explained why the conferences are so important to the Red Ensign Group.

‘The conference works because the debates are honest, we trust and respect each other and the outcomes are binding on all of us,’ he said.

‘It matters because that kind of honesty and trust only exists where all family members can get around the same table and have an equal voice and vote.

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‘Only the Reg conference can make that happen.’

Harbour master and conference co-chairman Captain Chad Murray said the Registry of British Ships in Guernsey is funding the hosting of the event through States’ Trading Assets, of which Guernsey Harbours is a part.

Mr Murray explained why this was an important event for the island to host.

‘This is huge, it’s absolutely important and vital that Guernsey has a seat within this forum,’ he said. ‘This will ensure we, as a shipping register and more widely as a jurisdiction, are fully engaged, fully aware and fully exposed to our obligations under international conventions and legislation.

‘We will make sure we meet those obligations and ensure the vessels on our register, and on our water, remain safe for shipping.

‘It’s a real honour for us to host all our friends from across the Red Ensign Group here.

‘Every member of the group makes a valuable contribution to the whole conference and the work of the Reg in general.

‘To be asked to host such an important event in Reg life is good for us as a shipping register and for Guernsey as a whole.’

n The conference started yesterday and finishes tomorrow.

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