In with the new: Ship workers in Holland weld a ‘Hamilton’ plate to the Queen Elizabeth, previously registered in Southampton. The Cunard Line cruise ship was officially registered in Bermuda earlier this week. *Photo by Willem H. van der Leek
In with the new: Ship workers in Holland weld a ‘Hamilton’ plate to the Queen Elizabeth, previously registered in Southampton. The Cunard Line cruise ship was officially registered in Bermuda earlier this week. *Photo by Willem H. van der Leek
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26: Cunard’s decision to register three of her cruise ships in Bermuda will bring in more than $130,000 to the island in fees and charges each year.

Government has revealed that the move to flag the Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth in Hamilton will net the country $81,000 in tonnage fees annually.

A further $50,000 will be brought in for safety checks that have to be conducted by surveyors from Bermuda on each ship throughout the year.

Cunard is one of the most famous and historic cruise lines in the world. The decision to reflag its three ships has prompted anger from some sections of the British public who claim the firm is abandoning its British heritage.

The move will see the word “Hamilton” replace “Southampton” on all three of the ship’s hulls.

The Queen Elizabeth underwent this change on Monday in Holland, while the Queen Victoria is expected to go through the same process tomorrow.

But more importantly it means that couples will now be able to marry on board the Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth without having to use a religious minister.

The practice of captains marrying couples on board ship while at sea is illegal on British-flagged ships.

Shipping agents in Bermuda have welcomed the move.

Joe Simas, vice president of Meyer Freight, which has acted as agent for the Cunard cruise ship Queen Victoria previously, said: “This is good news for the island, not just in terms of money but prestige too. In the shipping world Cunard’s decision may attract other shipping companies to flag in Bermuda.”

The Bermuda Ship Registry was established in 1789 as part of the “British Register of Ships” having Hamilton as its Port of Registry.

At present there are 165 commercial ships and over 250 pleasure yachts registered in Bermuda.

The commercial fleet boasts over 25 passenger ships.

The Bermuda Ship Registry brings in around $3 million every year.

Referring to the income generated by Cunard’s decision to register the three ships in Bermuda a spokesman for the Department of Transport said: “We would be looking at approximately $81,000 annually in tonnage fees for the three ships.

“In addition to that there are 48 chargeable survey days bringing in approximately $50,000 in recovered survey cost which makes a total of $131,000 annually in fees and charges as a minimum.”