How I Work: Capt Dwain E. Hutchinson

In 2018 the Bahamas Maritime Authority recorded its lowest ever number of annual detentions following Port State Control inspections, with just 24 ships
being detained.

This, according to recently appointed Managing Director and CEO Captain Dwain E. Hutchinson, is testament to the close working relationship the BMA has with its owners and managers to ensure vessels, and crew, meet the necessary high-quality standards in a sea of tightening regulations.

“The Bahamas is first and foremost a regulator, and I think one of the challenges for us in the industry is keeping abreast of the number of regulations that are being adopted,” he said.

“However, they also give our ship owners the opportunity to show that they are prepared to take the steps necessary to achieve these objectives that are being set by the regulators and, for us, in terms of the Registry, it gives us the ability to show owners that we are prepared to work with them, collaborate with them and support them to ensure compliance with all the regulators.”

Capt Hutchinson, a Master Mariner and proud Bahamian, was appointed as Acting Managing Director and CEO of the BMA in January last year, following the retirement of Commodore Davy F. Rolle, and took over the role permanently in April this year. He brought over 30 years’ experience to the role having been at the BMA for 16 years in various roles including Deputy Director, and serving as Chairman of the IMO Flag State Implementation (FSI) Sub-Committee. His sea-going career spanned 14 years with services on a variety of vessels including tankers, general cargo ships and ferries, and since last June he has been an Executive Governor at the World Maritime University.

The Flag, which has maintained a steady presence in the top 10 Flag States, has 1,556 ships registered, 65 of which are 3 million gt, and spread over all sectors.

“Most people think cruise is a big percentage and it is a big, visible part of our business, but our global mix is still very much right across all sectors,” he said.

He says the Bahamas are a ‘trusted partner’ and this is due to the quality brand of the islands, whether in tourism or shipping, and this helps them to compete with some of the more aggressive and faster-growing registries.

“We are going to stick to our mantra of quality and timely service and being able to say to owners that we will work with you and support you to make your business and your ships continue to keep operating. By having the global outreach that we have, it means that the support base you need will always be there. We also want to continue to be a progressive ship registry.”

When Capt Hutchinson, who has two grown-up children, is not busy supporting owners and managers, he enjoys pottering around the garden of his home in Bedfordshire, UK and playing golf “badly!”

It’s a short commute to his London office but one which he says has been beneficial for his career, as it has given him chance to study for an Open University degree, and a post graduate certificate in legal studies.

“There’s always something to do. I have a loving and caring family and a good circle of friends who take me away from the maritime field but, at the end of the day, I love what I do!”