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.
Advantages of Registration Under the Malta 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;
- Straight forward 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 you in setting up and administering your shipping company in Malta;
Registering your 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.