I used to participate in this forum rather regularly when I was 17/18 and first looking to go to sea. I received a lot of advice that helped me get my boots wet much quicker than I would have otherwise.
Now eight years later I run a 115’ Ex-Army LCU (1953 Build).
Previously we were American Flagged, classified as a private vessel, and carrying only goods and cargo for the vessel owner’s island in the Bahamas. As of such, we didn’t face a huge regulatory load no many obstacles from the USCG, Classification Societies, etc etc.
Now things have changed…
The vessel was purchased by a corporation that owns some private islands in the Turks and Caicos. The plan to use the vessel for their own Inter-Island resupply runs but also engage in commerce carrying cargo and construction equipment around to various other islands.
The new owners are wonderful folks and brought me on to continue serving as Master as well as help them through the refit process.
We are currently going through the process of re-flagging the vessel in Comoros as well as getting insurance through a broker here in Miami and underwriters in London.
Frankly for what we want to use the vessel for, the amount of requirements we are being required to meet are ridiculous. We operated much more easily under the American Flag as a private vessel. Upon arrival in the Turks and Caicos, we will be trading almost exclusively in the TCI Lagoon. I have been present for ABS Surveys, inspections, etc etc but never involved in a managerial position.
My question is for those of you that have dealt with re-flagging, etc before.
What would be your recommended course of action for a vessel of this age? We are open to changing out current course if there are better options present.
Anyone ever re-flagged an older vessel with Comoros? Or classed a vessel with the INSB?
This is my first time dealing with the navigation of all this paperwork and neither the insurance broker, reflagging attorney, or underwriters have been much guidance towards achieving compliance, even though they themselves are the ones requiring it. So any insight and wisdom that you all can offer would be very valuable.
Thanks in advance,