John Samuel has been appointed Director of the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry (VISR) for a period of one year, effective 1st July 2020. He succeeds Captain Raman Bala, who served as the Acting Director of VISR for the last few years.
Samuel’s appointment took effect following approval by His Excellency the Governor, Augustus J.U. Jaspert in accordance with section 92(1) of the Virgin Islands Constitution, and on the advice of the Public Service Commission.
As Director, Samuel will serve as Chief Advisor to the Government on matters relating to the VISR and will lead the department and provide guidance and support to ensure all survey related matters are dealt with and meet the established industry standards.
He will also develop and present a reform strategy for the modernisation of the department in line with successful industry models and will streamline and improve its internal processes, as well as the public/private sector interface necessary for continued effectiveness.
Permanent Secretary in the Premier’s Office, Dr. Carolyn O’Neal-Morton said she welcomes John Samuel, who has the experience and expertise needed in moving the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry forward in the ‘New Regular’, living and working with COVID-19.
PS O’Neal-Morton said: “The Government of the Virgin Islands continues to place great emphasis on introducing, amending, and updating the necessary pieces of maritime legislation to ensure that the Territory maintains its Category One shipping status to continue registering large ships under the International Maritime Conventions.” She explained that Samuel brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the post having served in both the public and private sectors at various levels. She added that his skills are critical as the Territory is scheduled to undergo a III Code Audit by the Red Ensign Maritime Authority.
He currently serves as the Chairman of the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College’s Board of Governors and previously acted as the Interim Managing Director of the BVI Ports Authority. Samuel served as the Director of Shipping for VISR from 2012 to 2015 and held the post of Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works from 2007 to 2009. He also served as Deputy Permanent Secretary in the same ministry from 2004 to 2007 and worked for the BVI Ports Authority as a Marine Officer and then as Marine Supervisor from 1991 to 1999.
Samuel taught Advanced Navigation at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College and served as a Trainee Pilot for both Tortola Pilots Courier Co. Ltd and the Castries Pilots St. Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority before advancing to Senior Pilot at Tortola Pilots.
He is a certified International Safety Management Auditor, Maritime Security Officer, and authorised surveyor for small commercial craft by the United Kingdom Maritime & Coast Guard Agency and ABS Consulting. Samuel is a certified Marine Inspector by the United States Coast Guard Marine Safety School and received an unrestricted pilot’s licence from the British Virgin Islands Ports Authority.
The Virgin Islands Shipping Registry seeks to ensure that Virgin Islands ships can safely, securely and efficiently enjoy the freedom of the seas and the support of a vigorous and effective Maritime Administration.