The Issue of Priority and Statutory Ship Mortgages in the British Virgin Islands


Shipping business in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) is fast developing, and with this development, it is important to understand some critical elements, being financing and taking of security; hence, the significance of BVI statutory ship mortgages and the related matter of the lender’s priority position.

Considering the geographical make-up of the BVI, with its 60 islands and cays, and it being thought by many to be the number one sailing capital of the world, it is imperative that the policies and laws of the BVI’s shipping industry are transparent and user-friendly to ensure that the jurisdiction is attractive for shipping business.

This task has been made all the more possible with the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry (VISR) being a Category One ship registry within the Red Ensign Group of British ports of registry, authorised by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency of the government of the United Kingdom to register yachts of up to 3000 gross tons, and general cargo ships of unlimited tonnage. This Category One status coupled with the BVI’s geographical make-up makes this sailor’s paradise a prime jurisdiction for shipping, and indeed it is. Shipping business in the BVI is fast developing with the vast majority of ships registered being owned by companies registered under the BVI Business Companies Act, 2004 (the BVIBCA).

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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