Malta Ship Registration
Eligibility for Registration
All types of vessels, from pleasure yachts to oil rigs, are eligible for registration. Vessels are eligible for registration under the Act if they are wholly owned by-
I. citizens of Malta;
II. Maltese juridical persons established under and subject to the laws of Malta having their principal place of business in Malta;
III. Any other person, as may be prescribed by regulations, e.g. vessels wholly owned by legally constituted bodies or entities in reputable jurisdictions, trust, foundation, as well as any EU citizen.
The formation of a Maltese company, is therefore, not necessary for registration. Nevertheless, the Maltese company offers several benefits, including low maintenance costs, swift incorporation (incorporation may be effected within 2 working days), and flexibility, with no nationality requirements as to both the shareholders and directors.
Where the vessel is owned by a foreign owner, a resident agent must be appointed to expedite all registration formalities with the Maltese Shipping Registry, as well as in respect of all matters pertaining to the upkeep of the vessel’s register.
Age of the Vessel
There are neither trading restrictions nor age restrictions. However:
- Ships of 15 years and over, but under 20 years, must pass an inspection by an authorised flag state inspector before or within a month of provisional registration; and
- Ships of 20 years and over but under 25 years, are required to pass an inspection by an authorised flag state inspector prior to being provisionally registered.As a rule trading ships of 25 years and over are not registered.
Malta Ship Registration Procedure
The registration of a ship under the Maltese Flag, provided all the necessary documentation is provided, is a relatively fast and seamless procedure. The ship is first provisionally registered under the Maltese Flag for six months (extendable for a further period, or periods not exceeding in the aggregate six months), and shall, upon the satisfaction of all documents necessary by the Registrar of Shipping, be awarded a permanent registration.
The requirements for provisional registration are:
Application for registration by the owner(s) or an authorised representative, including, if required, application for change of name of ship;
This application shall be completed in the case of individuals, by the person requiring to be registered as owner or by some one or more of the persons so requiring if more than one.
Proof of qualification to own a Maltese registered ship, in the case of a body corporate, the memorandum and articles of association;
In the case of non-Maltese owners, appointment of a resident agent;
Where applicable, copy of the current ship’s International Tonnage Certificate;
Declaration of ownership made in front of the Registrar by the owner or an authorised representative, containing:
I. a statement of his qualification to own a Maltese ship or, in the case of a body corporate, of such circumstances as prove it to be qualified to own a Maltese ship;
II. a statement of the time and place where the ship was built. If this is not known, a statement that the declarant does not know the time and place of her building;
III. a statement of the extent to which he or the body corporate, as the case may be, is entitled to be registered as owner;
IV. a declaration that to the best of his knowledge and belief no unqualified person or body of persons is entitled as owner to any interest in the ship or any share therein; and
V. a declaration as to what registered encumbrances (mortgages etc), if any, exist on the ship.
- Evidence of seaworthiness;In the case of trading ships, confirmation of class with a recognised organisation, and information of the ship statutory certification including Company ISM compliance.
- Where applicable, request for the Administration to authorise the appropriate recognised classification society to issue the ship’s and the Company statutory certificates;
- Where applicable, application for Minimum Safe Manning Certificate;
- Application for Ship Radio Station Licence
After these documents have all been submitted, and the registry fees and annual tonnage tax, have been paid, the vessel shall be provisionally registered under the Malta Flag. Thereinafter, the owner(s) of the vessel must within one (1) month of provisional registry, furnish the following documents to the Maltese Shipping Registry:
- A builder’s certificate containing true account of the proper denomination and of the tonnage of the ship as estimated by him, and of the time when and the place where the vessel was built, and of the name of the person (if any) on whose account the ship was built or, if there has been any sale, the bill of sale or other document under which the ship or a share therein was transferred to the applicant for registry;
- Evidence that any foreign certificate of registry of the ship, or equivalent documents, has been legally cancelled or the registry has been duly closed.
Within six (6) months of provisional registry, (which may at the Registry’s discretion be extendable for further period of six (6) months), the owner(s) shall furnish the registrar with the following documents and evidence:
- Proof that the ship has been issued with such valid certificates required by international conventions (including protocols, annexes and appendices thereto) which have been ratified or acceded to or accepted by the Government of Malta;
As of November 2010, Malta has entered into the following conventions: CLC 92, Tonnage 69, COLREG 72, Fund 92, INMARSAT, LLMC 1996 Protocol, Local Lines 66 (including 1988 Protocol), London Convention 72, MARPOL 73/78, SOLAS 74/78 (including 1988 Protocol), STCW 78 (including 73 amendments), Bunkers 01, AFS01, SUA 88 (including SUA Protocol 1988), SAR 79, FAL 65, OPRC 90, OPRC-HNS Protocol 00, ILO Conventions Nos. 8, 16, 22, 53, 73, 74, 8, 98, 108, 138, 147C (including 1996 Protocol) and 180.
Where valid appropriate convention certificates are not in place the ship will be issued with a non-operational certificate of registry.
- In the cases of SOLAS ships, copy of the last updated Continuous Synopsis Record issued by the Administration where the ship was last documented;
- Certificate of Survey and a copy of the International Tonnage Certificate issued by an approved surveyor of ships;
The surveyor shall in his certificate specify the ship’s tonnage and build and such other particulars descriptive of the identity of the ship.
- Evidence that the vessel has been marked in accordance with law (name marked on bows as well as name of home port on the stern, official number and registered tonnage cut in main beam, scale for draught line) etc;
When the requirements preliminary to registration whether provisional or otherwise, have been complied with, the Maltese Shipping Registrar shall enter in the register the following particulars
with respect to the ship:
- The name of the ship;
- The details comprised in the surveyor’s certificate where applicable;
- The particulars respecting the ship’s origin stated in the declaration of ownership;
- The name and description of the ship’s registered owner(s) and, if there are more owners than one, the proportions in which they are interested in the ship;
- Any registered encumbrances that may come to the knowledge of the registrar;
- The details of any mandate or power of attorney, granted by way of security to the mortgagee, or to a third party for the mortgagee’s benefit.
On completion of registry of a ship the registrar shall grant a certificate of registry. The period of validity of a certificate of registry shall be as follows:
- if issued within the first twelve months of provisional registry for the remaining period of the said twelve (12) months; or
- if issued at the expiry of the first twelve (12) months for a period of twelve (12) months:
Thereinafter, all certificates of registry shall be issued for a period of twelve months provided that within a period of three (3)months prior to the expiry of such certificate, the registrar, upon the payment of the annual fee, shall issue a renewal certificate of registry in the prescribed form.
The registration fees payable to the Maltese Shipping Registry may be summarised as follows:
|Ship of Net Tonnage (NT)||
Fee on registration
|Annual Tonnage Tax|
|2,500||8,000||€575 plus 23 cents for every NT in excess of 2,500 NT||€875 plus 35 cents for every NT in excess of 2,500 NT|
|8,000||10,000||€1,840 plus 7 cents for every NT in excess of 8,000NT||€2,800 plus 19 cents for every NT in excess of 8,000 NT|
|10,000||15,000||€1,980 plus 7 cents for every NT in excess of 10,000 NT||€3,180 plus 14 cents for every NT in excess of 10,000 NT|
|15,000||20,000||€2,330 plus 7 cents for every NT in excess of 15,000 NT||€3,880 plus 12 cents for every NT in excess of 15,000 NT|
|20,000||30,000||€2,680 plus 7 cents for every NT in excess of 20,000 NT||€4,480 plus 9 cents for every NT in excess of 20,000 NT|
|30,000||50,000||€3,380 plus 7 cents for every NT in excess of 30,000 NT||€5,380 plus 7 cents for every NT in excess of 30,000 NT|
|Exceeding 50,000||€4,780 plus 7 cents for every NT in excess of 50,000 NT||€6,780 plus 5 cents for every NT in excess of 50,000 NT|
However, the following reductions or increases on the rates per net tonnage on registration and annual tonnage tax, set forth above shall apply. Recently-commissioned vessels shall benefit from a reduction in fees on registration and annual tonnage tax, which fees and taxes shall be increased proportionately to the vessel’s age, in the manner set forth below.
|Age of Ship||Reduction on Fee on Registration %||Registration or Increase on Annual Tonnage Tax %|
|Equal to or Exceeding||Less Than|
|Equal to or exceeding 30||-||+50*|
* Subject to a minimum increase of €1164.69
Registration fees for any one year paid after the anniversary of registration for that year shall be increased by ten per cent (10%).
Focus Business Services offers a comprehensive portfolio of corporate and legal services. In the area of Shipping, the services provided include:
- Assisting client throughout all the phases leading to, and pursuant to flag and ship registration under the Malta Flag;
- Liaising with the Maltese Shipping Registry in relation to any formalities related thereto;
- Incorporation of ship owning and ship management companies;
- Directorships, special attorney/s and company secretarial work in relation to the aforesaid companies;
- Advising on Ownership and Management Structures both from a corporate and fiscal perspective.
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
We are committed to providing you with a swift solution best suited to your needs.