Updated: July 12, 2022 | 10 minute read

    The ship registration industry is a multi-billion dollar one. The economic importance of ship ownership and operation has given rise to an industry widely recognised as the backbone of world trade. Today, Malta is one of the leading maritime hubs globally, providing various maritime services and facilities for ship owners.  

    With the country maritime tradition, it is on its way to becoming an international hub for the ship registration industry.  

    It is high time for your ship to wave the Maltese flag! 

    Ship Registration Under the Maltese Flag

    The Merchant Shipping Act of 1973 regulates the ship registration under the Maltese flag and the Maltese ship’s operations. The law was based on the United Kingdom legislation and revised in 1986, 1988, 1990, 2000, and 2010. The ship registration industry has taken great strides since the seventies. It is now recognised as one of the most important industries in Malta, mainly because ship owners are free to choose which flag their vessels will fly.  

    This means that shipowners have a wide choice for ship registration under the Maltese flag. There are no restrictions on ownerships or operations. The tax exemptions on ship income facilitate ship financing.   

    Malta’s membership in international ship registers, such as the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control and International Safety Management (ISM) Code, provide shipowners and ship managers with all they need to manage their ship efficiently and compliantly. This attracts a number of ship owners to register their ships in Malta.  

    Advantages of Registering your Ship in Malta 

    Regardless of nationality, it is possible to register ships in the name of legally constituted corporate bodies or entities. It could also be in the name of a European Union citizen. It has one of the largest registers in the world.  

    In addition to the benefits mentioned above, Malta’s ship registration provides more advantages, such as:  

    • Reputable and internationally recognised ship register  
    • 24/7 service for emergency 
    • European Flag with a long maritime tradition  
    • Customer service-oriented approach that values long term customer relationships  
    • A clear strategic political vision supporting business and the maritime industry  

    Ship registration under the Maltese flag also does not have nationality restrictions for masters, officers and crew. There are no trading restrictions and preferential treatment to Maltese ships in specific ports, hidden costs, inspection fees.  

    The Maltese requirements are well-known to main shipyards and classification societies. The country also offers a range of maritime services, backed up by a professional shipping registry that values long term customer relationships.  

    Eligibility for Ship Registration in Malta   

    All types of vessels wholly owned by European Union citizens and legally constituted corporate bodies or entities of any nationality can be registered in Malta. This includes yachts, oil rigs, and even vessels under construction. Trading ships of 25 years and over are not registered but can be considered in specific instances.  

    On one hand, ships of 15 years and over must successfully undergo an authorised flag state inspection before provisional registration. While on the other hand, ships of 10 years and above but under 15 years must undergo an inspection successfully by an authorised flag state inspector before or within one month of provisional registration.  

    Requirements for Ship Registration in Malta 

    A ship is provisionally registered under the Maltese flag for six months. During this period, the following documents must be completed:  

    • Registration application by the owner or an authorised representative. 
    • Application for change of name of the ship (if required). 
    • Proof that one qualifies to own a Maltese ship (document of incorporation or appointment of a resident agent). 
    • Copy of International Tonnage Certificate (if applicable). 
    • Declaration of ownership. 
    • Evidence of seaworthiness (Confirmation of class with a recognised organisation, and information of the ship’s statutory certification, including Company ISM compliance).  
    • Request for the Administration to authorise the appropriately recognised classification society to issue the ships and the Company statutory certificates. 
    • Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance (DMLC) - Part 1. 
    • Application for Minimum Safe Manning Certificate where applicable. 
    • Initial registration fees and annual tonnage tax payment. 
    • Ship Radio Station License application. 
    • Bill of sale or any other document by which the vessel was transferred to the applicant for the registry where there was previous ownership or a builder’s certificate in the applicant’s name. 
    • Registry certificate cancellation issued by the Administration where the vessel was last documented where applicable. 
    • Copy of the last updated Continuous Synopsis Record issued by the Administration where the ship was last documented for SOLAS ships. 
    • Survey and a copy of the International Tonnage certificate. 
    • Certificate issued by an approved surveyor of ships. 
    • Evidence that the vessel has been marked following the law. 

    The ship will be issued with a non-operational certificate of registry where valid appropriate convention certificates are not in place. Moreover, a certificate of Malta registry is subject to renewal on the anniversary of the Maltese registration.  

    Register your Ship in Malta with Endevio 

    The Maltese law also allows bareboat charter registration of foreign ships under the Malta flag and Maltese ships under a foreign flag. It sees ships under construction and commercial yachts and has adopted all the major international maritime conventions.  

    The Maltese flag is considered one of the best for shipping companies looking for a European vessel registry. Seafarers from all over the world prefer Maltese vessels because they enjoy excellent employment conditions, benefits and protection.  

    Eager to make Malta your ship’s home? Let Endevio provide more information on ship registration, including the process, registration fees and tonnage tax. Our team of experts are set to help you don your ship with the Maltese flag. 

    Get in touch with us today! 

    Ship Registration Under the Maltese Flag