Malta has a deeply-entrenched maritime tradition. Over the years, Malta’s shipping registry has earned a reputation for efficiency and the Malta Flag, is one of the most widely-recognised merchant shipping flags, establishing itself as a Flag of confidence. Today, Malta is one of the largest maritime nations in terms of registered tonnage worldwide, with a fleet of over 5,000 registered vessels, the 2nd largest in Europe, after Greece.
The Merchant Shipping Act (“the Act”), regulates the registration and operation of vessels under the Malta flag, and is based on its English Law counterpart. Under the Act, any type of vessel (including but not limited to oilrigs, platforms, barges etc;) may be registered in the Maltese Shipping Registry and fly the Malta Flag. Furthermore, the Act also allows for bareboat charter registration for foreign ships under the Malta Flag and also for the bareboat charter registration of Maltese ships under a foreign flag.
Advantages of the Maltese Flag
Maltese Law affords a number of fiscal benefits to ship owners or bareboat charterers operating tonnage tax ships – vessels of at least 1,000 net tonnes registered under the Malta flag and owned, chartered, managed or administered by a Shipping Organisation (a status automatically conferred on a company, partnership, trust or foundation having as its activities the owning, operating, administration or management of vessels). Some of most attractive advantages of registration under the Malta flag, may be summarised as follows:
- Automatic exemption from income tax in Malta on income derived from shipping activities of Maltese tonnage tax ships;
- Automatic exemption from donation and succession duty on the capital represented for Maltese tonnage tax ships;
- Automatic exemption from duty on documents and transfers (stamp duties) payable on the sale or transfer of Maltese tonnage tax ships, and on the allotment or transfer of any share or stock in any company owning such vessels;
- Registration of hulls/ vessels under construction and mortgages over such vessel is permitted;
- No restrictions on the nationality of the master, officers and crew serving on Maltese vessels;
- Uncomplicated and efficient procedure for registration and deletion of Maltese vessels, as well as for the registration and discharge of mortgages;
- Efficient procedures for the sale or transfer of shares or stock in Maltese shipping companies;
- No trading restrictions imposed on Maltese registered vessels.
The aforesaid exemptions, may, by bespoke application, also apply to vessels below 1,000 net tonnes.
Contact one of our officers to initiate the registration process for vessels under the Maltese Flag and start reaping the full benefits of an onshore, low-tax, reputable, EU jurisdiction. Simply fill in the contact box below or contact us by email on email@example.com or by calling at +356 2338 1500
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