Shipping: A guide to ship registration

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1 MOORE STEPHENS Shipping: A guide to ship registration Shipping PRECISE. PROVEN. PERFORMANCE.

2 The Malta Flag: An obvious choice Malta: Gaining ground With a long established maritime tradition and placed to become an international centre of excellence within the shipping industry, Malta is considered to be one of the leading hubs in the Mediterranean, offering a whole range of excellent maritime services and facilities for the industry. With a developed strong regulatory and legal platform, Malta is transforming itself into one of the largest and reputable international ship registers in the World. Advantages of the Malta Flag Experience and reputation Legal infrastructure and support Straightforward registration process Low company formation costs No trading restrictions Vessel eligibility Political stability Competitive fees and low tax rates Access to capital markets and exchange control Sound banking system Ship Registration Eligibility for Registration All types of vessels may be registered under the Malta flag, ranging from yachts, both pleasure and commercial, to vessels under construction, provided that they they are wholly owned by legally constituted corporate bodies or entities irrespective of nationality, or by European Union citizens. The term vessel under Maltese merchant law is quite wide and encompasses also oil rigs, platforms and barges. The few exceptions exist in respect of vessels aged 25 years and over. As a rule, these are not registered although in certain circumstances this may be considered. Vessels aged 20 years but not older than 24 are required to pass an authorised flag State inspection prior to provisional registration whereas vessels aged between 15 and 19 years require to pass an inspection by an authorised flag State inspector before or within of one month of provisional registration. Registration procedure A vessel is first registered provisionally under the Malta flag for six months (extendible for a further period, or periods not exceeding in the aggregate of six months) during which period all documentation needs to be finalised. The following documents are required for provisional registration: 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 document of incorporation 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 s 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 Payment of initial registration fees and annual tonnage tax Application for Ship Radio Station Licence

3 Follow-ups to acquire permanent registration The following documents are to be submitted during provisional registration: 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. Bareboat charter registration Both foreign ships under the Malta flag and Maltese ships under a foreign flag, which are involved in bareboat charters, may also be registered in Malta. These ships enjoy the same rights and privileges, and have the same obligations as any other ship registered in Malta. The valid period of a bareboat charter registration must not exceed two years and is the shorter of the duration of the bareboat charter or the expiry date of the underlying registration. However, registration may be extended. The requirements and registration procedure for bareboat charter registration in Malta are similar to a normal registration, except that: Ship is bareboat chartered to a body corporate, entity or such other person qualified to own a Maltese ship. Ship is not a Maltese ship, and is registered in a compatible registry. Ship is not registered in another bareboat registry. Following documents need to be produced: Application for registration by the charterer or an authorised representative. Declaration of bareboat charter accompanied by the charter agreement. Transcript or an extract of the underlying registration. Copy of the Ship s International Tonnage Certificate. Consent in writing of the underlying registry, owners and mortagagees. Ships under construction Maltese law allows the registration of vessels that are being built or equipped. The requirements relating to inter alia, survey and safety of ships already built and ownership declaration where the owner has not as yet taken delivery of the vessel, will be suspended until construction is completed or until delivery has been made. Vessels to be classed as trading ships are to be built under the supervision of a recognised organisation. Commercial yachts Yachts in commercial use which do not carry cargo and do not carry more than 12 passengers can be registered as commercial yachts. A VAT scheme on yacht leasing provides considerable VAT savings on yachts leased out from a Malta company.

4 Moore Stephens: renouned shipping consultants Where we fit in Malta: Gaining ground Moore Stephens Malta provides the following comprehensive range of services to the shipping industry: With a long established maritime tradition and placed to become an international centre of excellence within the shipping industry, Malta is considered to be one of the leading hubs in the Mediterranean, offering a whole range of excellent maritime services and facilities for the industry. Formation of shipping companies Audit, accountancy and secretarial support services Registration of vessels and mortgages under the Malta Flag Directing our clients to an authorised surveyor in whatever region of the world they may be Dealing with the Malta Maritime Authority and other local authorities Tax planning for merchant vessels Tax planning for yacht owners Advantages of the Malta Flag Technical assistance in matters concerning authorisations, exemptions and extensions by the local authorities to the relevant classification society Experience and reputation Legal infrastructure and support The handling of all flag administration matters Straightforward registration process Low company formation costs No trading restrictions Vessel eligibility Political stability Competitive fees and low tax rates Access to capital markets and exchange control Sound banking system Why choose us When it comes to shipping, Moore Stephens stands out from the rest and has a long track record in advising the shipping industry. We are in a unique position to provide a comprehensive and confidential range of specialist business development services and traditional support services to the industry. But most importantly, we deliver. With a developed strong regulatory and legal platform, Malta is transforming itself into one of the largest and reputable international ship registers in the World.

5 Contact information If you would like further information on any item within this factsheet or information on our services please contact: Helen Meli Attard Reginald Meli Attard R.S. Attard - Moore Stephens Malta, 46 Timber Wharf, Marsa, MRS 1442 Malta T MOORE STEPHENS We believe the information in this factsheet to be correct at the time of going to press, but we cannot accept any responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person as a result of action or refraining from action as a result of any item herein. Printed and published by Moore Stephens Malta, a member firm of Moore Stephens International Limited, a worldwide association of independent firms. Moore Stephens Malta is authorised and regulated by the Accountancy Board for the provision of audit services and is a Member of the Malta Institute of Accountants.

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