Ship Registration

ship registration in maltaThe registration of ships under the Malta Flag is regulated by the Merchant Shipping Act (Chapter 234 of the Laws of Malta). This main act is supplemented by an ample set of subsidiary regulations which implement the various International Conventions and Instruments into Maltese Law. Furthermore Malta has concluded 48 double tax treaties and bilateral maritime agreements with maritime countries.

Ship registration in Malta is a clear-cut procedure and all types of ships, including vessels under construction and oil rigs, may be registered under the Malta flag. A vessel may be registered in the name of a Maltese individual, a Maltese company, an EU citizen, a foreign corporate body or under an entity which enjoys legal personality in terms of the law under which it has been constituted. Provided that in the last three instances the applicant company or foreign citizen would need to appoint a resident agent in Malta.

The appointment of resident agent in fact applies solely to an International Ship Owner who wishes to register his ship or yacht, under the Malta flag. The Resident Agent is appointed in writing by the International Owner, by filling up the Declaration of Appointment of Resident Agent.

On the other hand, an International Owner may also opt for the formation of a Maltese Ship Owning Company. For further details about the formation of a Maltese company click on the Company formation icon on our website.

It is important to point out that under Maltese Law no restrictions are made on the nationality of the Masters officers and the crew on board Maltese registered vessels provided that they are in possession of an STCW compliant Malta endorsement.

More importantly Malta offers competitive registration fees for the registration of ships and yachts, and viable incorporation costs for the registration of Maltese Ship Owning Companies

The Transport Malta, Merchant Shipping Directorate, which is the Malta authority responsible for the registration of ships and yachts offers a 24hour, seven days a week service in respect of urgent matters and provides the industry’s stakeholders a most expedient and practical service.

Other noteworthy points to be mentioned are the following:

  1. Malta offers a complete tax exemption to owners, charterers and financiers of Maltese flagged vessels of 1,000 Net Registered Tonnage and over. This incentive may also be extended to ships under 1,000 NRT.
  2. There are no trading restrictions on vessels registered in Malta,
  3. No restrictions on the sale or transfer of shares of a company owning Maltese ships
  4. No restrictions on the sale and mortgaging of Maltese Ships