Malta Flag Ship Registration
Eligibility for Registration
All types of vessels, from pleasure yachts to oil rigs, may be registered, provided that, inter alia, they are wholly owned by Maltese citizens or Maltese bodies corporate. The formation of a Maltese company is a straightforward operation; there are no nationality requirements as to both the shareholders and directors.
Ships of 20 years and over but under 25 years must pass an inspection by an authorised flag state inspector before or within one month of provisional registration. Ships of 25 years and over must pass an inspection by an authorised flag state inspector prior to being provisionally registered.
Ships of 15 years and over but under 20 years are required to pass an inspection by an authorised flag state inspector before or within one month of provisional registration.
Malta Ship Registration Procedure
A vessel to be registered under the Malta flag is first registered provisionally under the Malta flag for six months (extendible for a further period, or periods not exceeding in the aggregate six months) during which period all documentation needs to be finalized.
The requirements for provisional registration are:
- application for registration by the owner or an authorised representative, including, if required, application for change of name of ship;
- proof of qualification to own a Maltese 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;
- 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;
- payment of initial registration fees and annual tonnage tax.
The following documents are to be submitted after provisional registration in order to obtain Permanent Registration under the Malta flag:
- where there was previous ownership, a bill of sale or any other document by which the vessel was transferred to the applicant for registry; otherwise a builder‘s certificate in the name of the applicant;
- where applicable, cancellation of registry certificate issued by the Administration where the vessel was last documented;
- 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;
- evidence that the vessel has been marked in accordance with law.
Where valid appropriate convention certificates are not in place the ship will be issued with a non-operational certificate of registry.
A certificate of Malta registry is subject to renewal on the anniversary of the Maltese registration.