The Maritime Administration Department’s mandate exceeds more than being responsible for vessels along the various rivers of Guyana. In fact, such department was established according to the 1998 Shipping Act, Section 4, which states “There shall be a Maritime Administration Department herein after referred to as the “Department”. The function of which shall be to administer this act.

Some of the major areas of MARAD’S responsibility includes:

  • Registering and licensing of ships
  • Certifying officers on sea, including masters or any other category of crew
  • Ensuring the welfare of seamen, issuing of discharge books (for local registration)
  • Implementing and enforcing maritime codes, conventions and practices
  • Prevention of accidents
  • Surveying of ships on port to ensure safety practices are upheld
  • Determine or investigate the amount or type of bulk cargoes and dangerous goods
  • Investigate wreck and salvage of mariner’s accidents
  • Assist in search and rescue operations
  • Prevention of pollution on ships
  • Ensure ports comply to security regulations
  • Provide pilot service
  • Dredging /hydrographical surveying
  • Collection of harbour dues
  • Control and manage the lighthouse and the Berbice Pilot station

Those persons who share interest in the operations of the Maritime Administration are, those ship and boat owners, seafarers, shipping companies, shipping agencies, terminal operators, importers and exporters, the Guyana Revenue Authority, the Guyana Police Service, the Guyana Energy Authority, Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit(CANU) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In order for vessels to be legally operational they have to be equipped with licences, and, as such, MARAD issue licences such as the Coastal Master which is the highest attainable licence a seaman can acquire. The Coastal Mate Licence is the second next to the Coastal Master. These are followed by the Boat Master Grade (3) licence, the Harbour Licence for fishermen only, the River Navigation License which is limited to those areas beyond Bartica, and the Certificate of Competence Licence for families and farmers who operate privately at their own convenience.

Above all, the Maritime Administration Department’s primary goal is to ensure that all safety measures are upheld so that passengers and crew members alike can be safe along the waterways.