Yacht Registration in Malta – Advantages and Registration Options

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Benefits of Registering Yachts In Malta

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Competitive registration costs

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No restrictions on nationality of owner and crew

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No trading restricitions

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No restrictions on nationality of shareholders

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Attractive tax incentives for yacht owners

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Efficient maritime administration

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Easy registration process

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Adherance to international standards

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No restrictions on sale and mortaging of yachts

The Maltese International Ship Register is now among the largest globally, thanks to its dependable and reputable regulatory and legal basis. The Maltese Flag has therefore gained an enviable reputation – when measuring by total registered tonnage, the instantly recognisable Maltese Cross comes in sixth in the world and the first in Europe. In recent years, the superyachts business has become increasingly important, and the authorities have reacted by working to produce a suitable framework for yacht registration in Malta, similar to that for merchant shipping.

Thanks to Malta’s status as an International Centre of Excellence and its world-class facilities for the maritime sector, the island is ready to take advantage. With an enhancement of Malta’s existing natural harbours and strong investment in marinas for superyachts, land-based companies have been prompted to create new services in areas such as yacht management and refitting, focusing on the highest possible quality standards.

 

Advantages Associated With Sailing Under The Maltese Flag

 

  • Maltese registration is available to anybody, although those who are not citizens of the EU, EEA or Switzerland will need to use a company registered in Malta or one of the other EU/EEA/Switzerland countries. Owners themselves are free to base themselves wherever they wish, even if this is outside the EU, and we are ready and willing to take the part of the yacht’s agent and necessary Malta resident. In other countries in the EU, owners generally have to be situated in the relevant jurisdiction, but this is not the case with yacht registration in Malta.
  • Registering a shipping company is not particularly difficult in Malta. Even so, it may be worth considering using an offshore-based firm to register, given the liberal Maltese arrangements allowing overseas companies to register to fly Malta’s flag on their yachts.
  • Costs are minimal in terms of both annual renewal and initial registration.
  • Beneficial ownership of the vessel may be kept confidential as a fiduciary can be appointed for this purpose.
  • The owning company’s shares can be transferred or sold without restriction, and ships may also be mortgaged and sold freely.
  • When a ship is registered in Malta, there is a free choice of nationality for all crew and officers, including the master.
  • A number of ports around the world provide certain advantages for ships registered in Malta.
  • Malta’s status as a global shipping centre means it offers both full maritime services and an efficient mortgage system.
  • Flexible requirements allow the registration of non-ship vessels, such as barges and pontoons, as well as ships whose construction has not yet been completed.
  • The special tax return generally required under the Income Tax Management Act can be replaced by a standard tax return, as long as the shipping company’s income comes entirely from maritime activities, or it has no income. This is regulated by regulation 3(5) of LN 224 of 2004.

 

Type Of Registration Options

 

Maltese-registered vessels may be classed as either Commercial Yachts or Private Yachts:

Private Registration

According to the Merchant Shipping Directorate, to qualify for this status, any type of pleasure yacht must be used only for the owner’s benefit and must not receive a reward(profit) for carrying passengers or engage in trade. The minimum length for such a vessel is 6 metres.

Commercial Registration

A yacht in this class is defined as being operated by either the relevant company or the yacht’s direct owner for commercial use. It must carry a maximum of 12 passengers and measure at least 15 metres in length.

 

There are several sub-categories to consider:

  • Commercial superyachts with a gross tonnage above 500 tonnes and a length of more than 24 metres.
  • Commercial superyachts weighing under 500 tonnes, but again measuring more than 24 metres.
  • Yachts which are a maximum of 24 metres and a minimum of 15 metres long. These are not categorised as superyachts.

 

Types of Vessels That Can Be Registered In Malta

 

Any kind of vessel can be registered in Malta, whether it is an oil rig or a pleasure yacht.

Yacht registration in Malta under the commercial yacht code, or for a pleasure yacht, means that vessels of all ages are eligible.

However, there are a few restrictions: 

  • Any vessel over 25 years old can only be registered under the Maltese flag with specific official permission.
  • Vessels between 20 and 25 years old must undergo and pass a prior inspection by an authorised person before receiving provisional approval.
  • Vessels between 15 and 20 years old must also pass an inspection, but this can be carried out at any time within a month of provisional registration.

Required Documents For Registration

Pleasure Yachts’ Registration

  • If the vessel is owned by a corporate entity, that company’s original memorandum and articles
  • If the vessel is owned by a company, an up-to-date certificate of good standing
  • For all ships of over 24 metres in length, a builder’s ITC for new vessels or a previous one otherwise
  • For vessels over 24 meters, an antifouling declaration is required.

Permanent Pleasure Yacht Registration

  • For new builds, the original Builder’s Certificate
  • Original Bill of Sale
  • Original survey certificate
  • Duly signed carving and marking note
  • Original deletion certificate
  • The provisional certificate must be surrendered to obtain permanent registration

Commercial Yachts’ Registration

  • Application for registration
  • Declaration of ownership
  • Inspection Report
  • Radio Application and Radio Report
  • International load line certificate
  • International antifouling certificate
  • MLC Compliance Certificate
  • Certificate of Survey
  • Previous tonnage certificate
  • If relevant, previous certificate of survey
  • Safe manning application form
  • Certified copy of previous registration certificate

Permanent Commercial Registration

  • International tonnage certificate for Malta
  • Certificate of Survey for Malta
  • Original bill of sale, bearing a date prior to provisional registration
  • Original Builders and deletion certificates
  • Carving and Marking note
  • For permanent yacht registration in Malta, the provisional registration certificate must be given up.

Recognised organisations

The Maltese government allows survey, tonnage and convention certificates to be issued on its behalf by:

  • American Bureau of Shipping
  • Bureau Veritas
  • China Classification Society
  • ClassNK
  • DNV-GL
  • Korean Register of Shipping
  • Lloyd’s Register of Shipping
  • Polish Register of Shipping
  • Registro Italiano Navale
  • Russian Maritime Register of Shipping

Information For Non-EU Nationals, EEA Or Switzerland

 

  • You will need to have an agent resident in Malta; assistance with this is available. You will need to supply a statement authorising a notarized, apostilled declaration appointing us to be the agent, and a certified, notarised and apostilled copy of the ship owner’s passport.
  • We will supply the necessary documents if we are the creators of a Maltese company which is to own the vessel.
  • In the case of ships owned by overseas companies, an agent resident in Malta is also required, and again we can help with this.

Below is a list of the documents you will require:

  • A duly notarised and apostilled legal opinion to the effect that the corporate body’s records have been appropriately checked, supplying directors’ and office-holders’ particulars, plus anyone authorised to represent that company, and confirming the desire to appoint a resident agent in Malta. It must be signed.
  • The original Memorandum and Articles of Association or Incorporation. Alternatively, you may submit certified true copies attached to the legal opinion on its contents.
  • A certified true copy of the Certificate of Incorporation.
  • An original or certified copy of the Good Standing Certificate, which must match the date on the POA.
  • The Director or Directors’ passport details, in the form of a certified copy.

Yacht Registration Process

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1. Documents

Yachts are registered provisionally under the Maltese flag for six months. This is extendable for another period in which all the documents need to be submitted.
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2. Provisional Registration

After the documents are submitted and approved, a non-operational certificate will be issued and inspection requested by the classification society.
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3. Permanent Registration

For a permanent registration under the Maltese flag, further documents are submitted after the provisional registration of the yacht. Permanent registration is renewable annually.

Our Yacht Services

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Pleasure Yacht Registration

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Commercial Yacht Registration

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Company Formation

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Appointed Agent

Additional Services:

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Tax structuring for yacht owners

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Commercial yacht certifications

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Coordination of VAT leasing transactions

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Ongoing compliance regulations

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Enforcement of claims within Maltese territorial waters

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Review of documentation

Get in touch to register your yacht with us: