Malta Ship Registration

Looking to register a ship under the Maltese Flag? Malta is one of the biggest ship registries in the world.

Registration of Vessels under the Maltese Flag

Malta, a member of the European Union, located in the heart of the Mediterranean has developed one of the most reputable ship registers in the world, having the largest ship registration of vessels in Europe and offering a wide array of international maritime services. Malta has developed its natural harbors, investing heavily in state-of-the-art super-yacht marinas and encouraging the creation of a number of onshore service providers such as refitting yacht yards and yacht-management companies of the highest standard. Although previously notoriously known as a flag of convenience, the Malta flag has today become a flag of choice that many seek out as their main and first choice of flag.


Malta is an attractive jurisdiction for vessel registration. This is due to the absence of restrictions on the sale or mortgaging of Maltese registered vessels. Moreover, there are no restrictions on the nationality of the master, officers, and crew of Maltese vessels. There are also no restrictions to the registration of vessels under construction. Moreover, Malta is a neutral state having both economic and political stability, as well as a professional English-speaking working force and it is considered a cost-effective jurisdiction for both ship registration and company formation.

The Malta ship registry offers a multitude of benefits:

  • The Malta Flag is a European Flag with a long maritime tradition;
  • Malta ship may be registered in the name of a legally constituted corporate body or entity irrespective of nationality, or by citizens of the European Union, European Economic Area, United Kingdom or Switzerland;
  • Low company formation costs;
  • Ship owners, and operators benefit from attractive tax incentives;
  • The largest ship register in Europe and the sixth-largest ship register worldwide;
  • On the White List of the Paris MoU and Tokyo MoU;
  • Competitive ship registration process and tonnage tax fees;
  • The Maltese legal system is reliable thus offering robust protection to financiers;
  • No restrictions on the nationality of Masters, Officers, and Crew;
  • No restrictions on the registration of mortgages on Maltese registered ships;
  • A professional and efficient maritime administration backed by a qualified and efficient team of technical officers available 24/7 for urgent matters;
  • Straightforward and expeditious procedures for registration or deletion of vessels.

Malta shipping company formation is a straightforward process with no restrictions on the nationality of shareholders and directors.

Maltese law also provides for bareboat charter registration.

Eligibility for Registration

All types of vessels, from pleasure yachts to oil rigs, including vessels under construction may be registered provided, inter alia, they are wholly owned by legally constituted corporate bodies or entities irrespective of their nationality, or by citizens of the European Union, European Economic Area, United Kingdom or Switzerland.

The registration of vessels under the Maltese flag takes place firstly by provisional and subsequently by permanent registration.

In order to comply with the major international conventions, the Malta ship registration process requires that ships of 20 years and over, but under 25 years, successfully undertake an authorised flag State inspection prior to being provisionally registered. Ships that are 15 years old and over but less than 20 years old are required to undertake successfully an authorised flag State inspection before or within one month of provisional registration. It has to be mentioned that, the Malta ship registration process, excludes ships that are over 25 years of age which are therefore in principle not registrable. Nevertheless, given the case-by-case approach adopted by the Malta registry in such instances, E&S Group will be able to assist owners of such ships to try and find a suitable, alternative solution to the case at hand.

Provisional registration of a vessel

The vessel is first registered provisionally for six months and may be extended up to one year, by which time permanent registration must be completed. Upon expiration of this period, if the vessel has not been permanently registered, registration must commence anew and the appropriate forms re-submitted and fees paid anew.

Permanent Registration of a vessel

In order to obtain permanent registration, certain documentation will be required and it is important to note that additional specific requirements depending on the different types of vessels may be imposed. The permanent Certificate of Malta Registry is renewable on an annual basis and an annual fee is due to Transport Malta (Merchant Shipping Directorate). Renewal is due annually from the date of initial registration.

E&S Group has vast experience in the shipping industry and our services to shipping clients include:

  • Assisting in setting up and administering shipping companies in Malta;
  • Registering vessels under the Malta flag;
  • Registration of Mortgages
  • Acting as resident agents in order to liaise with the Merchant Shipping Directorate;
  • Managing of structures for VAT and tax planning optimization.

Request More Info for more information about the Malta Ship Registry Procedures and Malta Yacht Registry Procedures.

E&S Group has a vast experience in the shipping industry and our services to shipping clients include:

  • Assisting you in setting up and administering your shipping company in Malta;
  • Registering your vessels under the Malta flag;
  • Drafting and reviewing shipping-related agreements;
  • Acting as resident agents in order to liaise with the Merchant Shipping Directorate;
  • Managing of structures for VAT and tax planning optimisation.
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"According to our experience, E&S Consultancy team is made up of well-trained and skilled professionals who are always there to satisfy your business needs with reference to Maltase law. Their work is well organized and carried out in a precise and timely manner. I look forward to continuing my cooperation with E&S Consultancy."

Giorgio Crotta & Marco Compagnino - FIDINAM & Partners

"E&S assisted us with various transactions related to the expansion of our client's global structure. They have provided reliable tax advice; their expertise and efforts have been commendable. We would recommend E&S as an effective service provider."

Mitchell B. Kops & Jill Kelly - Withers Bergman

“E&S Consultancy really provides quality advice with commercial understanding. I have never experienced such a combination of know-how, pro-activeness and entrepreneurial thinking from any advisor. We are very impressed by the professionalism, attention to detail and efficiency of their staff. E&S Consultancy is an excellent firm which knows how to look after its customers."

Florian Karrer - Walters & Karrer Internacional

"Christian Ellul of E&S Consultancy has assisted us with advising on a number of transactions through Malta with particular tax driven expertise involved. We have found their tax and legal services very professional and efficient, with a client-driven approach and sound value for money investment for clients. We can, therefore, recommend E&S Consultancy as a law firm to be used in Malta."

Javier Morera - Broseta Abogados

"I've known E&S Consultancy for many years. They are knowledgeable, friendly and extremely helpful. Their team of experienced professionals has always offered courteous and immediate assistance. They are the best!"

Florian Karrer - Walters & Karrer Internacional

"We are happy to have E&S Group as our legal and transaction consultants. Their reliable and prompt advise on Maltese regulations and requirements has been extremely helpful throughout. Through our interactions with Mariella, Deborah and Anton among others, we find their team to be courteous, skilled, and promptly available to assist us as needed."

Prashanth Swaminathan, CEO of XDAT

“Having E&S as a reliable and trusted firm in Malta handling all the complexities of our corporate operations has been a real pleasure. I would recommend E&S Consultancy to anyone who is seeking the right partner when setting up in Malta"

Eric Benz, CEO of Changelly

"Applying for the MPRP is a complex project but with E&S team, the whole process didn’t seem to be as complex. The team first explained the process and then created a very detailed work activity tracker explaining each activity clearly. The team was very quick to respond to any clarifications and gave us confidence, helping in every step to make the process doable. One of the key areas for E&S’ success in guiding us was the painstaking detailed documentation and steps to be followed. Moreover, the process moved fast, and we got our approval the first time, in one shot. I would strongly recommend E&S for MPRP process as with them, you will get it done successfully and faster than others.  For me, I see the full form of E&S as Efficiency and Success for its clients."

Rangin Lahiri - CEO & Founder of YVC Europe Ltd

"E&S provides comprehensive, holistic and dedicated professional services related to company incorporation, Advisory, Risk & Compliance, Tax & Legal, Accounting and others. In the past 6 years, I have used most of these services and the company has very competent employees and professionals who understand the scope of the work and seek to deliver excellence in all the tasks they adhere to.

E&S can be considered as a one-stop shop services provider especially for start-ups. I will not hesitate to recommend E&S to others who want to use the professional services they offer due to their service oriented, and high level of professionalism."

Michael Gatt – Global Gaming Group (CFO)

"I always feel at ease when E&S’s legal team answers our Human Resource questions from the perspective of the company. They are not only very responsive to any questions, but also extremely patient. E&S are aware of the requirements of our organisation and, if they foresees any issues, advises us accordingly. I wholeheartedly recommend E&S Group to my other co-workers with particular reference to Dr Anthea and Dr Jade who are very reliable to handle inquiries."

Kathleen Dilley - Royce Technology

"We have had the pleasure of working with E&S since 2009, and their commitment to delivering high-quality results with a meticulous and professional approach has made them an invaluable partner in our long-standing collaboration."

Anna Davies at ANCROFT Corporate Consultants, London, UK

We have worked with E&S Group for the last 18 months and we have found the people working there to be experienced and knowledgeable, in particular Dr. Deborah Vella and Nicole Said, Director and Head of Corporate Administration respectively. Both are professional and great to work with.  We hope that we can continue our collaboration for many years to come."

Mr Stephen Balzan, Director at ACT Advisory Services (2023)

"We've been honoured to cultivate a robust partnership over several years, focusing mainly on joint efforts with Dr. Deborah and Dr. Jade. The highlight of our collaboration is not just their expansive legal proficiency, but also their steadfast dedication to upholding the highest standards of professionalism. We deeply appreciate our straightforward and clear communication, underpinned by mutual understanding and respect, which consistently prioritizes the requirements and interests of our shared clientele."

Mr Ali Zarzouri, Business Development Manager at Malte Conseils (2023)

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