Halt registering vessels as Guyana flag carriers – AG to unauthorised IMSAG

…demands documentation of transactions handed over to MARAD

Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall, SC, has written the principal of International Maritime Safety Agency of Guyana (IMSAG) – the company that was at the centre of controversy after several containers of ammunition were found aboard a ship that was carrying the Flag of Guyana – to cease conducting any transaction on behalf of the Government of Guyana.

Vessel found with ammunition at a port in Senegal

The Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) had entered into an arrangement early last year with the private company, delegating statutory certification services for vessels registered in Guyana. That agreement was signed on February 4, 2021, by MARAD’s Director General, Stephen Thomas, and Chief Executive Officer of IMSAG, Suneil Kumar, who was acting on behalf of Nautilus Register “ClassNR” – a subsidiary of India-based Aryavart Corporation.
In addition, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was also signed on March 3, 2021, between the Maritime Department, the Ministry of Public Works and Aryavart Corporation in which MARAD appointed the Indian company as an international technical and administrative representative of the Guyana Ships Registry under the name International Maritime Safety Agency of Guyana.

Agreements scrapped
However, these two agreements were scrapped months later in 2021 after instances of “fraudulent representations and illicit conduct” were found. Hence, the company was no longer authorised to license on behalf of Guyana or authorise ships to use the Guyana Flag.
In a legal notice dated February 11 and addressed to Kumar, AG Nandlall reminded of MARAD’s August 13 Notification of Termination, which succeeded the Notification of Breach of Contractual Obligations on June 29, 2021 – both of which the CEO acknowledged as effectively terminating all arrangements with Aryavart Corporation and its subsidiaries.
The Attorney General also made reference to statements made by Public Works Minister Juan Edghill regarding the fraudulent representation and illicit conduct by IMSAG and the Government of Guyana’s disassociation from the company. Those statements sought to alert stakeholders – domestic and international – that IMSAG is no longer a representative of Guyana and the Guyana Flag.
“In the circumstances, you are hereby reminded that you are relieved and removed from all roles and responsibilities under the said MoU. As a consequence thereof, the Government of Guyana reiterates its demands that you immediately cease all representations of the Guyana Flag and/or MARAD, and relinquish to MARAD, all relevant details and supporting documentation of all transactions undertaken on behalf of the Guyana Flag and the Government of Guyana,” Nandlall detailed in the letter.
The Attorney General also indicated to the IMSAG CEO that a report of the termination of agreements with his company was made with the Guyana Police Force, which has since engaged international law enforcement agencies including Interpol on the matter. In fact, the GPF has asked for assistance to question the CEO.

Nandlall’s correspondence to Kumar comes on the heels of authorities in Senegal last month seizing a vessel bearing the Flag of Guyana that was found carrying three containers of ammunition worth US$5 million. The motor vessel, named Eolika, was detained at a port in Dakar, Senegal, and the crew has been arrested after a search by Customs officials there unearthed the weaponry.
Both MARAD and the Government of Guyana subsequently have clarified that the vessel is not registered here.
The Government had reassured that no effort would be spared to bring the “dubious” company and its owners or affiliates to justice, noting that it would not condone the fraudulent issuance of registration under the Guyana Flag, and that it is a deliberate criminal design to sully the good image of Guyana. (G8)