Chief Islander gives presentation to Coastal State Forum

Tristan flag flies at Red Ensign Group gathering

Report and photos from Tristan Government UK Representative Chris Carnegy

The flag of Tristan da Cunha was proudly displayed alongside those of sister islands, as Tristan was for the first time included in a gathering of the 'Red Ensign Group' of maritime authorities.

Above: Watched by event chair Katy Ware and Cayman Islands Premier Wayne Panton, the Islands' Governor HE Jane Owen rings the ship's bell to open the 2023 conference.
Left: James Glass and Chris Carnegy alongside the Tristan flag at the opening of the conference.

The Group unites shipping jurisdictions that are linked with the United Kingdom, and although Tristan is not a 'flag state' the UN's International Maritime Organisation now views it as sharing the concerns and responsibilities of 'coastal states'. For that reason, the Group invited Tristan to join UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies at its annual conference, held in the Cayman Islands 23-25 May 2023.

James with fellow South Atlantic delegates - St Helena's Mia Henry and Ascension's Kitty George.

Chief Islander James Glass was given a special welcome by chair Katy Ware as the event opened. He made a presentation to its Coastal State Forum, describing Tristan's unbreakable bond with the ocean, the skills of its seafarers, and the legal and physical framework that underpins its maritime life. He outlined lessons learned from the losses of the Oliva in 2011 and Geo Searcher in 2020 and emphasised that Tristan is keen to develop: seeking more ship calls and adopting international conventions.

James giving his presentation to the Coastal State Forum.

The conference brought expert briefings on a wide range of topics, from ocean plastics to seafarers' employment rights, and from low-carbon shipping to protecting biodiversity.

Above: With coastguard commander Robert Scotland 
Below: On the water with the patrol boat.

The week ended with a visit to the Cayman Coastguard headquarters, with a chance to head out into Grand Cayman's North Sound on a fast patrol boat.

The conference came towards the end of a highly eventful month for James. He returned to UK on 27th May, for final meetings in London before heading south to Cape Town en route home.