By NATARIO McKENZIE Tribune Business Reporter email@example.com THE Bahamas "punches well above its weight" in the global maritime industry, the Bahamas Maritime Authority's (BMA) chairman saying yesterday that through its involvement with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) this nation has a powerful voice in world shipping. Ian Fair, one of the speakers at the 21st annual Bahamas Business Outlook conference, said the Bahamas has the ability to significantly influence the development of maritime legislation through the IMO, a specialised agency of the United Nations for shipping. "We have a powerful voice in world shipping, and have the ability to influence the development of policy and legislation both domestically and internationally. We punch well above our weight," Mr Fair said. An example of the Bahamas' influence, he said, has been the IMO's support of the Bahamas' proposal for mandatory carbon dioxide reduction for all ships, instead of a market-based measure (MBM). "The Bahamas has proposed to the IMO to mandate efficiency improvements of existing vessels. This has massive implications for the industry. Another example that we punch well above our weight is that this is our idea, and it is being well supported by the IMO," Mr Fair said. He added that the BMO's role is to enforce safety regulations and requirements, constantly monitor and improve standards, and contribute to the ongoing development of the global maritime industry, largely through the Bahamas' involvement with the IMO. Mr Fair noted that in addition to being a council member, the Bahamas sits on all working committees of the IMO and is regarded as a significant participant. The Bahamas was successful last November in its bid for election to the Council of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) under Category 'C' at the 27th session of the IMO assembly. Category C is open to those 20 states which have special interests in maritime transport or navigation, and whose election to the Council will ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world.