Malta's Maritime Landscape - Ship Registration in Malta

21 Mar 2017

Malta may be a small country but what it lacks in sq/km, it makes up for in terms of its maritime reputation. It’s shipping register is the largest in Europe and the 6th largest in the world and offers an efficient registration procedure, flexible fiscal solutions, for anyone looking to register a yacht or ship in Malta.

The country has always had an important connection with the sea due, in part, to its location in the Southern Mediterranean and the fact that historically, and even today, it is a strategic trading post with a large bustling freeport. It’s large natural harbours and mild weather conditions mean its numerous marinas have become home to an impressive array of some of the world’s largest and most dazzling super yachts- most of which are a part of the Malta Ship Registry. Located an equal distance between Italy and Tunisia, and Gibraltar and the Suez, it offers mariners a convenient bunkering location, as well as providing excellent facilities for repair in its many yards and docks. The Maltese waters have also been host to prestigious sailing events such as the Rolex Middlesea Race and the RC44 World Series Valletta Cup, drawing many international sailors, spectators, and maritime professionals.

Malta enjoys a stable and reliable legal system which is unique in that it borrows heavily from both British Common law and the continental Civil Law framework. This unusual combination has resulted in an advantageous system where laws in relation to shipping, financial services, and companies, are based on the English model, and with English being an official language, it ensures that investors, financiers, and ship owners alike, have a high degree of confidence in its efficiency.

Malta is also party to a number of well-known international maritime based conventions. These include the Safety of Life at Sea Convention, the Prevention of Pollution for Ships Convention, Maritime Labour Convention, and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea which Malta was actually a part of launching in 1967.

In terms of local legislation and guidelines, there are several laws which control different aspects of the maritime sector including the Merchant Shipping Act and the Companies Act.

Fenech Farrugia Fiott Legal offer clients a comprehensive maritime service. From ship management and flag registration, to advice pertaining to finance, tax, and leasing. Furthermore, our team of professional lawyers and support staff are on hand 24/7/365 to handle clients queries and to offer efficient solutions.

Advantages to registering your ship, vessel, or yacht in Malta include:

  • Quick, efficient procedures for registration and mortgages;
  • A range of exemptions for income tax, succession duty, and stamp duties, subject to meeting certain criteria;
  • No restrictions on nationality of crew;
  • No restrictions on the nationality of the shareholders and directors of Maltese shipping companies;
  • Registrations may be under the name of any EU company, trust, foundation, or individual;
  • Efficient deletion or transfer process;
  • Efficient process for sale or transfer of shares or stock in Maltese shipping companies;
  • Competitive pricing for registration and incorporation;
  • No trading restrictions imposed on Maltese vessels;
  • Multiple double taxation and bilateral maritime agreements.

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