The Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) has launched an online portal for shipowners to easily report incidents onboard Bahamian-flagged vessels or those sailing in Bahamian waters, while complying with multiple shipping, national and international requirements.
The portal is the first of its kind in the maritime sector and can be used to replace current manual processes for reporting everything from a marine casualty to a birth at sea. Users enter all the relevant information via a single point in the portal and the completed report is automatically forwarded to the appropriate local agency.
If the ship loses connectivity at any point during the process, the report will be stored in the client’s computer cache and will synchronise with The BMA server once the internet connection is restored.
“Currently it can be quite a laborious exercise to report an incident, perhaps requiring the completion of three or four different forms,” said Nick Dowden, assistant director and marine investigator in The BMA’s investigations department. “By digitalising the process, the system itself will handle any duplications of information needed and will also lead the user through the stages of reporting – asking only for relevant details and flagging any supporting material that is needed.”
The new portal, which initially will run concurrently with the paper system, enables shipowners to ensure compliance with all national, international and Merchant Shipping Act requirements.
“The new portal helps make reporting requirements clear and unambiguous for both Bahamian-flagged ships and those visiting Bahamian waters,” said Dowden. “It is particularly helpful to passenger ships as the reports can be initiated by any department on the vessel – whether in operations or hospitality – and they can then be sent for review onboard or ashore prior to being submitted to the BMA.”
Shipowners can also analyse the data they collect to identify trends that are emerging across The Bahamas fleet.
“In terms of data collection and analysis, it will make it much easier for us to identify trends across our fleet so that clients can benefit from each other’s experiences,” said Dowden. “This will be particularly helpful to managers and owners who have only one or two vessels operating and so wouldn’t have the benefit of seeing the wider trends in the industry.”