Bahamian Flag

The Bahamian islands, located southeast of Florida, used to be a British colony until gaining the independence in 1973, when its current flag was adopted. It replaces the original British blue ensign which was defaced with the emblem of the Crown Colony of the Bahama Islands. This emblem, dating back to around 1850, consisted of a scene depicting a British ship chasing two pirate ships out to sea and encircled by the motto “Expulsis piratis restituta commercia“, meaning “Pirates expelled, commerce restored”.

The current flag, an amalgamation of elements from the various submissions, consists of three basic elements, including:

  • A black wedge on the left-hand side, representative of the black population on the islands. The color also symbolizes the strength of the Bahamian people, while the directed triangle evokes their enterprise and determination to cultivate the island’s abundant natural resources, both on land and at sea
  • Two aquamarine stripes, jointly representing the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean
  • A golden stripe, in between the other two, which is meant to evoke the sun as well as the country’s beautiful beaches

Under the country’s Law on Merchant Shipping Act, passed in 1976 and later amended in 1982, the Bahamian flag may be used as a “flag of convenience” by any merchant vessels. As a result, any domestic- or foreign-owned vessel, regardless of its country of origin or place of registration, can easily be registered in The Bahamas. Unfortunately, since the law also makes virtually no qualification requirements for ordinary crew members, this has led to the country gaining the reputation of having a poor safety record.

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