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​Why Register In Malta?

Malta has one of the largest ship registers in Europe. Its good standing is evidenced both by the number of Ship Owning and Ship Management companies of repute which register their ships in Malta, and also by the confidence shown by the leading international banks and financiers who frequently recommend the Maltese Register.

Malta offers a thriving and reputable open ship register, one of the eight largest registries in the world. Vessel registration under the Malta flag is regulated by the Merchant Shipping Act, a law based, in the main, on the United Kingdom legislation, subsequently revised and amended. These amendments introduced important measures for control and added safeguards for the financiers thus making financing more attractive.

No inspections are necessary for vessels under 15 years, whereas vessels aged between 16 and 20 years may carry out an inspection within one month of provisional registration, without incurring any inspection fees. Ships of 20 years and over but under 25 years, are required to pass an inspection by a state inspector prior to being provisionally registered.

Maltese law also provides both for bareboat charter registration of:

a) foreign ships under the Malta flag, and

b) Maltese ships under a foreign flag.

Malta is a party to most of the major IMO and ILO International Maritime Conventions including CLC69, Tonnage 69, COLREG 72, FUND 71, INMARSAT, Load Lines 66, London 72, MARPOL 73/78 and STCW78. Malta registered ships are obliged to adhere to the provisions of these international conventions.

All types of vessels, from commercial ships and vessels under construction to cruise liners and pleasure yachts, may be registered.



The following advantages are offered to ship owners who wisely choose to register their ships in Malta.


  • Malta is a member of the European Union.

  • Low company formation, ship registration and tonnage tax costs.

  • Progressive reduction in registration and tonnage tax for younger vessels.

  • Attractive incentives to owners, registered charterers and financiers of Maltese vessels of over 1000 Net Tons - these incentives may also be extended to smaller ships.

  • No restrictions are imposed on the nationality of the shareholders and directors of Maltese Companies.

  • No restrictions on the nationality of the master, officers and crew.

  • No restrictions on the sale of ships and mortgaging of Maltese ships.

  • There are no trading restrictions on Maltese ships.

  • No restriction on the sale or transfer of shares of a company owning a Maltese ship.

  • User friendly, uncomplicated and expeditious procedures for registering or deletion of vessels.

  • A professional and efficient maritime administration. Twenty four hour, seven days a week service offered in respect of urgent matters.

Registration Procedures


The vessel is first provisionally registered under the Malta flag for six months (extendible for a further period, or periods not exceeding in the aggregate six months) during which time permanent registration needs to be finalised.


Provisional Registration


The procedure to register a vessel is relatively straightforward. Requirements for provisional registration include:



  • The completion of an "Application Form for Registration"

  • An application for a "Change of Name", if required

  • A "Declaration of Ownership" made before the Registrar

  • Proof of Qualification" to own a Maltese ship - in the case of body corporate, the Memorandum and Articles of Association

  • Evidence of seaworthiness; in the case of trading vessels, confirmation of class with a recognised Classification Society, and information of the ship statutory certification including ISM compliance

  • Application for Minimum Safe Manning Certificate

  • Application for Ship Radio Station Licence

  • A copy of the Ship's International Tonnage Certificate

  • Payment of registration and tonnage tax fees.


During the period of provisional registry, certain documents are to be submitted to the Registrar including:

  • A Builder's Certificate if the vessel has not been registered elsewhere; otherwise, a Bill of Sale or any other document by which the vessel was transferred to the present owner:

  • A Deletion Certificate from the last country of registry showing the vessel to be free from any encumbrances;

  • Copy of the last updated Continuous Synopsis Record issued by the Administration where the ship was last registered;

  • A Certificate of Survey and a copy of the International Tonnage Certificate that the vessel has been surveyed in accordance with Maltese regulations;

  • A Carving and Marking Note giving evidence that the vessel has been marked in accordance with the law;

  • A crew list accompanied by copies of the officers' certificates of competency.

Permanent Registration:


Requirements for Permanent Registration includes:


  • Original Builders' Certificate, or Bill of Sale, as the case may be

  • Deletion Certificate from the previous Registry

  • Ship's Carving and Marking Note to be returned duly signed and completed by Class Surveyor

  • Undertaking in favour of Registrar of Shipping to return the Provisional Certificate of Registration following the issuance of the Permanent Registration Certificate.

  • Proof that the Ship has been issued with valid certificates required by International Conventions (including protocols, annexes & appendices thereto which have been ratified or acceded to or accepted by the Government of Malta

  • Copy International Tonnage Certificate

  • Original Certificate of Survey

Classification Societies:



The following Classification Societies are the recognised Classification Societies who may issued Survey, tonnage and convention certificates on behalf of the Maltese Government:



  • American Bureau of Shipping (ABS);

  • Bureau Veritas (BV);

  • China Classification Society (CCS);

  • ClassNK (NK);

  • Det Norske Veritas (DNV);

  • Germanischer Lloyd (GL);

  • Hellenic Register of Shipping (HR);

  • Korean Register of Shipping (KR);

  • Lloyds Register of Shipping (LR);

  • Polish Register of Shipping (PRS);

  • Registro Italiano Navale (RINA);

  • Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS).



If you desire a personalize contact, please click here.



Want to buy one?

Want to buy one?

See the leasing structure in Malta

Another option

Another option

Madeira's International Shipping Register

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