OFFICIAL GUIDE TO SHIP & YACHT REGISTRIES

Antigua and Barbuda

Shipowner Eligibility 

A ship may be registered if it is owned by:
a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda
a public body of Antigua and Barbuda
an authorised public body corporate (International Business Corporation, IBC)
a corporation registered under the IBC Act of Antigua and Barbuda
an external company registered under the Companies Act

About the Flag

Antigua and Barbuda is a parliamentary democracy headed by the British Queen through a local Governor. It is located in the Eastern Caribbean and is comprised of three islands: Antigua, Barbuda, and the uninhabited Redondo. Independent from Great Britain since 1981, it is a member of the United Nations, the International Maritime Organization, and the Commonwealth of Nations. The capital is St. John’s, and the official language is English. The chief industries are manufacturing and tourism, and the monetary unit is the East Caribbean dollar.

Company Formation

There are a number of legal organisations in St. John's able to help in setting up International Business Corporations for ship owners and/or bareboat charterers. Contact the St. John's office of the Department of Marine Services and Merchant Shipping for information.

International Business Corporations Act of 1982
The prevailing offshore legislation provides for speedy formation of international business corporations (IBCs) at very competitive charges. The formation can be carried out by a locally registered trust company or by an accountant or attorney. Formation can usually be completed within 24 hours and full corporate and trust services are available to both private and corporate investors including:
Registration and maintenance of corporate charters for offshore companies;
Reception, management, and disbursement of the assets of offshore companies;
Provision and maintenance of a registered office;
Maintenance of the company's records and statutory register;
Preparation of all necessary corporate returns and reports to the Director;
Provision of directors and officers on request;
Incorporation and management of offshore banks and captive insurance companies; and
A full range of traditional trust services.

Some of the benefits provided to offshore companies formed under the IBC Act include the full exemption of all direct taxes in respect of any international trading, investment or commercial activity including withholding taxes and stamp duties. For banking there is a 3% tax on gross income (i.e. interest income and fees derived from the operations and investments of the banking business minus interest expense). No minimum capital is specified for an IBC and shares may have a nominal or no par value. The transfer of the charter of an IBC to a foreign jurisdiction, or vice versa, is explicitly permitted. The board of directors of a corporation may consist of a single member. In the case of banking, trust and insurance corporations, at least one director must be a citizen and resident of Antigua and Barbuda.

Confidentiality Provisions
The IBC Act provides criminal penalties for any disclosure of the business affairs of customers regarding banking or trust matters. The only exception for the disclosure of information relates to sound evidence regarding an alleged criminal offence that is triable in Antigua (or which would have been triable, if it has been committed in Antigua).

There are specific advantages for Canadian entities to form an IBC in Antigua that generates an active business income, because dividends paid out of income earned in Antigua are considered to be paid out of exempt surplus. Antigua is one of the countries listed in the Canadian Regulation 5907 (ii) which allows this arrangement. There are no tax treaties with European countries, except in the case of the UK and this is being updated through negotiations.

Incorporation Procedures
Every IBC must have a registered office and a resident agent in Antigua. This function is regularly performed by the trust company or by the professional who performed the incorporation process. The resident agent is responsible for paying the annual government fees and for keeping the company in good standing. The annual government license fee for an IBC is US$300; for an IBC licensed to carry on international banking it is US$ 15,000 and for an IBC licensed to carry on an international insurance business it is US$10,000.

Fees charged by trust companies or professionals for incorporation and annual maintenance will vary, but fees for the formation of an IBC without an international banking or insurance license start at about US$ 725, with an annual maintenance fee of US$ 350. Thus the total cost for an IBC formation (including the government license fee) is typically US$ 975, with an annual maintenance fee of US$ 600. If the applicant for an IBC wishes to have a registered agent serve as its corporate director, an additional fee will be charged, between US$ 250 and US$ 1,000 for each director.

Incorporation and maintenance fees for an IBC with an international banking or insurance license are higher and may be related to the level of required management services. Fees for trust management services are also dependent on the nature and value of assets and the required level of service.

Taxation

Some of the benefits provided to offshore companies formed under the IBC Act include the full exemption of all direct taxes in respect of any international trading, investment or commercial activity including withholding taxes and stamp duties. For banking there is a 3% tax on gross income (i.e. interest income and fees derived from the operations and investments of the banking business minus interest expense).

There are specific advantages for Canadian entities to form an IBC in Antigua that generates an active business income, because dividends paid out of income earned in Antigua are considered to be paid out of exempt surplus. Antigua is one of the countries listed in the Canadian Regulation 5907 (ii) which allows this arrangement. There are no tax treaties with European countries, except in the case of the UK and this is being updated through negotiations.

Registration and Documentation

The registers for all ships are kept in St John's, Antigua.

There is a separate register for yachts of all kinds and those over 24m in length, used for charter, which are required to meet the MCA Code for Mega Yachts.

The following documents and information are to be submitted to the relevant Antigua registration office prior to full registration and issue of new Antigua trading documents:
Present name of the ship
Name of the ship while under the flag of Antigua
Present call sign and IMO number
Month/year of keel laying
Name of shipyard
Proposed date of registration under the Antigua flag and assumed ship's position on that date
Classification society and ID number
Name, address, telephone/fax number, email address etc. of the ship's managing owner
Photocopies of the ship's present statutory certificates:
International Tonnage Certificate (London 1969)
International Load Line Certificate IOPP
Certificate Cargo Ship Safety Construction
Certificate Cargo Ship Safety Equipment Certificate
Cargo Ship Safety Radio Certificate
Class Certificates (Hull/Machinery)
Confirmation of Class
Document of Compliance (DOC) and Safety Management Certificate (SMC) according to the ISM Code
Evidence of ship's contract with a radio accounting authority (AAIC) recognized by the ITU and Antigua.
Details of main propulsion engine, radio- and navigation equipment (manufacturer and type)
Continuous Synopsis Record(s) issued by the former Flag State Administration in accordance with SOLAS XI-1
Original Bill of Sale or Shipbuilders Construction Certificate (notarized and legalized)
Resolutions of the Directors of the present and the new owning company
Power of Attorney from the present and the new owning company in favor of the persons acting on its behalf.
Original closed transcript of register from the present foreign register evidencing deletion of the ship from the foreign register free of encumbrances.
Mortgage Deed and Deeds of Covenants (if applicable)

On completion of registration procedures, and when all fees and expenses are paid, the Department will supply the official number and call sign (and selective call sign, if required), and issue the Permanent Registration Certificate. Personnel in both offices are knowledgeable and quite helpful.

Bareboat Charter Registration

The Antigua and Barbuda Merchant Shipping Act was amended in 1986 to the effect that bareboat chartered ships are permitted to be registered in Antigua and Barbuda. A foreign registered ship which is bareboat chartered to a company wishing to register the ship in Antigua and Barbuda may be so registered if the law of the country of origin so permits.

The bareboat charterer must be a company incorporated and registered under the Antigua IBC Act. A copy of the Certificate of Incorporation and Good Standing must be submitted to the relevant Antigua Registration Office.

Prior ships initial and first bareboat charter registration a mandatory "initial safety inspection" is to be carried out by the flag state, exempted if the ship is a new construction or less one year of age. Further on the ship will be surveyed after 16 months during an "annual safety inspection" while flying the flag of Antigua and Barbuda.

It is not possible to register any mortgages or other encumbrances against a ship in bareboat charter in the Antigua Register of ships.

On receipt of the written consent to Antigua bareboat charter registration from the foreign register, the Antigua trading documents will be provided on ship's owners discretion.

Fees are calculated according to the Gross Tonnage of the ship. Contact your relevant Antigua Registration Office for details.

Application for IBC-formation can be processed by several Antiguan law firms.

In addition to the aforementioned normal ship registration requirements, the following documents and information are to be submitted to the relevant Antigua Registration Office prior Bareboat Charter Registration and issuance of new Antigua Trading Documents:
Original or notarized copy of the "Bareboat Charter Party" signed by both the owner of the ship and the bareboat charterer.
Notarized copy of the "Consent of the Shipowner to the Bareboat Charter Registration".
Abstract from the ship's main register.
Certificate of Incorporation and Good Standing evidencing the creation of an Antigua IBC Company.
Power of Attorney of the ship's owner and the bareboat charterer.
Original of the written "Consent of the Mortgagee(s)" to the intended Bareboat Charter Registration.
Written "Consent to Bareboat Charter Registration" from the foreign national maritime authorities.

Vessel and Yacht Eligibility & Survey Requirements

There are no age restrictions.

Surveys
Prior to registration a vessel has to undergo and pass an Initial Safety Inspection (ISI) before it can be permanently registered, although it can receive a certificate of provisional registration, valid for a maximum period of six months.

Annual safety inspections are imposed by the Flag State.

Antigua and Barbuda has authorized ten of the major classification societies as Recognized Organizations to act on behalf of the Administration in the issuance of statutory certification for ships registered under the flag of Antigua and Barbuda:
American Bureau of Shipping (ABS)
Bureau Veritas (BV)
ClassNK (NK)
Croatian Register of Shipping (CRS)
DNV
Korean Register of Shipping (KR)
Lloyd's Register (LR)
Registro Italiano Navale (RINA)
Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RMR)

Antigua and Barbuda has also authorized the following five major classification societies as Recognized Security Organizations to act on behalf of the Administration on security requirements of SOLAS 74 as amended, Chapter XI-2 and the ISPS Code for ships registered under the flag of Antigua and Barbuda:
ABS
BV
DNV GL
LR

From web page, ADOMS :
Issue of Certificates
The administration issues:
Certificates of registry,
CSRs,
Minimum safe manning documents,
Bunker certificates,
Radio licenses,
DMLC Part I certificates

The nine Recognised Organisations are authorised to issue all other statutory certificates and to conduct the surveys associated with them . However there are a few exceptions highlighted below;

Exemptions
Exemptions are normally issued only by the administration but for some routine ones that are specifically covered in the Conventions, authority has been given to the Recognised Organisations for their issue.
Temporary Permissions

It is accepted that ships experience minor breakdowns in essential convention equipment from time to time. These breakdowns and other temporary situations where the ship is not able to demonstrate full compliance with the conventions are dealt with by the issue of a "Temporary Permission" These documents are issued only by the administration and can be prepared and sent very quickly. They are used in situations where a formal exemption is not appropriate and where the need is urgent and temporary and they serve to prove:
that the flag state has been informed,
it has considered the situation and
it has agreed to the position for a short time subject to conditions as set out in the document.

It is important that owners and managers inform the administration quickly when there is a problem of this nature. The issue of a temporary permission and compliance with its conditions will demonstrate to PSC and others that the administration has been informed and has agreed which normally allows the ship to continue in service without delay.

Inspections
Antigua and Barbuda operates a system of regular inspections for its ships. The inspections are conducted by a large group of authorised inspectors based in locations all around the world. Most ships, other than new ships less then 12 months old, are subjected to an initial inspection before registry, then once registered, they fall within the annual inspection regime.
There are three types of inspection:
The Initial Safety Inspection (ISI) which takes place at the time of registry for any ship of more then 12 months in age.
The Annual Safety Inspection (ASI) which takes place at intervals of not more than 18 months for all ships (the interval varies depending on the results of the last inspection) . This inspection is arranged and co-ordinated through ADOMS IID.
The Special Safety Inspection (SSI) which is required when there is a special need, such as when a ship is detained by Port State Control or in the case of a justified Seafarer complaint under MLC(2006).
Changes to the scheme are being made that will allow the administration to target inspections more precisely and ships that have a good inspection record will have the interval between flag state yearly inspections increased, while ships with repeated problems will have the interval reduced.
Surveys are carried out in accordance with IMO Resolutions A.739(18) and A.789(19).

Crewing

There are no nationality requirements for officers and ratings serving on Antigua and Barbuda ships. The administration's office in Oldenburg issues endorsements in accordance with STCW 95 against equivalent certificates from Flag States who are included in the list of countries issued by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as having fully met the requirements of STCW 95. Specific manning requirements will be determined by the Administration, depending on the size, type and trading area of the ship.

Conditions of Employment
A crew agreement must be signed between the master and the seafarer. According to the Antigua and Barbuda Merchant Shipping Act it should not contain any stipulations contrary to national and international law relating to wages and conditions of employment of seamen and masters on board ship. The Antigua and Barbuda authorities issue a standard crew agreement of which a copy should be displayed on board ship and another copy sent to the Administration's office. The agreement contains contractual and voyage clauses, providing safeguards with respect to the employment of seafarers and their terms and conditions of service.

Wages
Where a seaman's service is terminated prematurely through no fault of his own (sickness, shipwreck, etc.), he is entitled to wages from the date of termination to the date at which he is returned to his home port, provided that the period of wage entitlement is not less than one month in the case of shipwreck.

Repatriation
Where a seafarer's service is prematurely terminated for no fault of his own, the master or owner of the ship must make adequate provision for the maintenance of the seaman and return him to his home country.

Mortgages

Any owner with a vessel registered on the permanent registry may register any number of mortgages against the vessel.The process is simple and can be completed through either our Antigua office in St John's or our office in Oldenburg in Germany.

Once a mortgage is registered the consent of the mortgagee is required for any changes to ownership or registration status.

Mortgages cannot be registered against a vessel which is bareboat registered and which has its underlying registry outside Antigua and Barbuda, but vessels which are permanently registered in Antigua and Barbuda and bareboat registered to another flag can have mortgages registered against them.

The priority of mortgages is strictly on a time /date basis and the earliest takes precedence while it remains registered. Time and date is recorded against every mortgage.

Fees

Fees for registry and other services are competitive and simple, and are regularly reviewed to ensure that they reflect real value for the services offered. As a general proposition, the fees for registry are inclusive of the provision of essential documents, exemptions and certificates. The intention is an easily understood and predictable scale of fees that is fully inclusive so that owners can be assured that once the annual fees are paid, there will be no more charges for certificates or documents relating to the ship.
As of 01 January 2021, the revised service fees below will apply ​to all services provided by ADOMS to all vessels, irrespective of their dates of registration.

SERVICE FEES
General Service Fees:
No.
Service Item
Fee
US$
1
Mortgage registration
350
2
Complete new set of trading certificates
350
3
Certificate of Deletion
300
4
LRIT Conformance Test Report (after initial issue)
200
5
Transcript of Register (other than owner's request)
175
6
Continuous Synopsis Record (CSR) (lump sum per year)
150
7
Copy of any certificate
150
Fees for Seafarer's documents:
No.
Service Item
Fee
US$
8
Seafarer's Book
80
9
Officer's Endorsement of a Certificate of Competency
90
10
GMDSS Endorsement
75
11
Special Qualifications Endorsement
60
12
Renewal/revalidation of a Seafarer's Book/Endorsement
60
13
Change of personal data in seafarer's document
40
Fees for services carried out by ADOMS IID:
No.
Service Item
Fee
EURO€
14
Initial Safety Inspection (ISI) (applicable to vessels in service > 12 months)
1200.00
15
Annual Safety Inspection (ASI)
1150.00
16
Special Safety Inspection (SSI) (in the event of a detention or justified seafarer's complaint)

Contact

Antigua and Barbuda Department of Marine Services and Merchant Shipping
Popeshead and Dickenson Bay Streets
P.O. Box 1394,
St. John’s, Antigua, W.I.
Tel: +1 268-462 1273/4353
Fax: +1 268-462 4358
E-mail:
- registry@abregistry.ag
- technical@abregistry.ag
- administration@abregistry.ag

Antigua and Barbuda Department of Marine Services and Merchant Shipping (ADOMS) – Oldenburg Office

Am Patentbusch 4
26125
Oldenburg
Germany
Tel: +49 441 939 59 0
Fax: +49 441 939 59 29
Email:
- info@antiguamarine.com

Website
www.abregistry.ag

Stockholm Agreement 96
IMO Convention 48
* IMO amendments 91 
* IMO amendments 93
SOLAS Convention 74
SOLAS Protocol 78
SOLAS Protocol 88
LOAD LINES Convention 66
LOAD LINES Protocol 88
TONNAGE Convention 69
COLREG  Convention 72
CSC Convention 72
CSC amendments 93
SFV Protocol 93
STCW  Convention 78
STCW-F Convention 95
SAR  Convention 79
STP Agreement 71
STP Protocol 73
IMSO Convention 76
INMARSAT OA 76
INMARSAT amendments 94
INMARSAT amendments 98
IMSO amendments 2006
IMSO amendments 2008
FACILITATION Convention 65
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex I/II)
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex IV)
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex V)
MARPOL Protocol 97 (Annex VI)
London Convention 72
London Convention Protocol 96
INTERVENTION Convention 69
INTERVENTION Protocol 73
CLC Convention 69
CLC Protocol 76
CLC Protocol 92
FUND Convention 71
FUND Protocol 92
FUND Protocol 2003
NUCLEAR Convention 71
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex III)
PAL Protocol 76
PAL Protocol 90
PAL Protocol 02
LLMC Convention 76
LLMC Protocol 96
SUA Convention 2005
SUA Protocol 2005
SALVAGE Convention 89
OPRC  Convention 90
HNS Convention 96
OPRC/HNS 2000
BUNKERS CONVENTION 01
ANTI FOULING 01
BALLASTWATER 2004
NAIROBI WRC 2007
HONG KONG CONVENTION
HNS PROT 2010
Cape Town Agreement 2012
SUA Convention 88
SUA Protocol 88

IMO Conventions

Status of Conventions Antigua and Barbuda

IMO Convention 48 x
SOLAS Convention 74 x
SOLAS Protocol 78 x
SOLAS Protocol 88 x
SOLAS Agreement 96
LOAD LINES Convention 66 x
LOAD LINES Protocol 88 x
TONNAGE Convention 69 x
COLREG Convention 72 x
CSC Convention 72
CSC amendments 93
SFV Protocol 93
Cape Town Agreement 2012
STCW Convention 78 x
STCW-F Convention 95
SAR Convention 79 x
STP Agreement 71
Space STP Protocol 73
IMSO Convention 76 x
INMARSAT OA 76
IMSO amendments 2006
IMSO amendments 2008
FACILITATION Convention 65 x
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex I/II) x
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex III) x
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex IV) x
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex V) x
MARPOL Protocol 97 (Annex VI) x
London Convention 72 x
London Convention Protocol 96 x
INTERVENTION Convention 69
INTERVENTION Protocol 73
CLC Convention 69 d
CLC Protocol 76 x
CLC Protocol 92 x
FUND Protocol 76
FUND Protocol 92 x
FUND Protocol 2003
NUCLEAR Convention 71
PAL Convention 74
PAL Protocol 76
PAL Protocol 90
PAL Protocol 02
LLMC Convention 76 x
LLMC Protocol 96 x
SUA Convention 88 x
SUA Protocol 88 x
SUA Convention 2005 x
SUA Protocol 2005 x
SALVAGE Convention 89
OPRC Convention 90 x
HNS Convention 96
HNS PROT 2010
OPRC/HNS 2000
BUNKERS CONVENTION 01 x
ANTI FOULING 2001 x
BALLASTWATER 2004 x
NAIROBI WRC 2007 x
HONG KONG CONVENTION

x: Accession/ratification
d: Denunciation

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