Ship Registration in Malta
The ship registration under the Malta flag
Malta offers a reputable open ship register; one of the eight largest registers in the world. The island has the support of owners and operators who recognize Malta as a secure and cost efficient centre for the registration and management of vessels.
The Merchant Shipping Act is the act which regulates the registration and operation of ships under the Maltese Flag; which is mainly based on UK legislation. Any type of vessel may be registered under the Maltese flag as long as it is owned by Maltese citizens or by Maltese legal entities. The registration process is quite simple and straightforward.
Benefits to owner of vessels registered under the Maltese legislation consist of the following:
• Low company formation and ship registration costs
• Attractive fiscal incentives to owners, charterers and financiers of Maltese ships of over 1,000 net tons
• No restrictions on the nationality of the master, officers and crew
• No duty on the sale or transfer of shares of a company owning Maltese ships
• No restrictions on the sale and mortgaging of Maltese ships
• No trading restrictions and preferential treatment to Maltese ships in certain ports
• Malta is a party to the major international maritime conventions
• Low tonnage tax
• Licensed Shipping Organizations are exempt from income tax
• Beneficial VAT regulations whereby any VAT paid in connection with the maintenance of the ship and the Maltese company (such as the legal and accountancy and compliance fees) may be reclaimed back
• Reduced compliance requirements for certain types of licensed shipping organizations
• No restrictions on the nationality of the ship owner
• An effective mortgage system
A vessel is first registered provisionally under the Maltese flag for six months (extendible to one year) during which period all documentation must be finalized.