OFFICIAL GUIDE TO SHIP & YACHT REGISTRIES

Bahamas

Shipowner Eligibility 

A foreign owner, irrespective of nationality or place of incorporation, can hold direct title to a Bahamian flag ship. Local ownership or participation in ownership is not a registration requirement.

About the Flag

The Bahamas Archipelago consists of some 700 islands and 2,400 cays located in the Atlantic Ocean 50 miles south and east of Florida, and extending south and east almost to Haiti. Independent from Great Britain since 1973, The Bahamas is a parliamentary democracy headed by a Prime Minister of the governing party, with a monarch (Queen Elizabeth II) represented by a Governor General. The capital is Nassau, and the English language is spoken. It is a member of the British Commonwealth, United Nations and the IMO. The Bahamas is a stable, developing nation whose economy is based primarily on tourism, financial services and maritime services. It exports pharmaceuticals, cement, and refined petroleum products, and its major trading partners are the United States, the United Kingdom, and Norway. The currency is the Bahamian dollar, and its ports include Freeport, Matthew Town, Marsh Harbor and Nassau.

Company Formation

The Companies Act 1992 governs regular companies which may be limited by shares or guarantee, unlimited companies, limited liability companies, and limited duration companies while the International Business Companies Act 1989, as amended covers international business companies ("IBCs"). An IBC is a company which does not carry on business with persons resident in The Bahamas nor owns an interest in real property situated in The Bahamas other than by holding a lease of property for use as an office. It may not carry on banking, trust, insurance or reinsurance business or provide a registered office for companies. An IBC will not be considered to be carrying on business with persons resident in The Bahamas by virtue only of its holding bank accounts, retaining local professional services, preparing and keeping books and records, or holding directors and/or members meetings in The Bahamas. An IBC is also able to hold shares, debt obligations, or other securities in companies incorporated in The Bahamas.
Companies are required to have at least five shareholders. IBCs require a minimum of two shares; but only a minimum of one shareholder. A registered office in The Bahamas is necessary and may be the office of a lawyer, accountant, or bank or trust company or a financial and corporate service provider. Ordinary companies require a minimum of two directors, and IBCs require one director who need not be resident. A general meeting of shareholders is required for regular companies but not for IBCs. Such a meeting may be held anywhere worldwide. Directors' meetings are optional and may be held by consent if all directors sign the minutes. Ordinary companies must file an annual return; IBCs are not required to. There are exchange controls imposed on ordinary companies but not on IBCs.

A Memorandum of Association containing the following information must be provided to the Registrar of Companies: name of company; address of the registered office in The Bahamas; and objectives of the company. A declaration is required stating that the company's liability is limited and including the fixed amount into which capital is divided. The filing of Articles of Association may be done at a later date, if desired. It normally takes 24 hours to incorporate if the company name is approved beforehand.
To establish a branch of a foreign company in The Bahamas or to conduct business within The Bahamas, registration is required under the Foreign Companies Act. The following must be filed: certified copy of the charter; status of memorandum and articles of the company; list of directors with full names, addresses, nationalities, and occupations; and names and addresses of authorized local representatives.

Taxation

There are no direct taxes of corporations, income or profits in The Bahamas. Exemption is also granted to IBCs for most indirect taxes including capital gains, real estate, inheritance, sales tax, and customs duties on imported capital goods and raw material inputs. The operations and income of ships registered or any capital gain on their sale, are tax-free whether the ship is owned by a foreign individual or corporation or by a Bahamian company. Foreign-owned ships registered in The Bahamas are exempt from customs duties and documentary stamp taxes if they exceed 150 GRT. The Bahamas has entered into double taxation agreements regarding port taxes with Italy and the United States.

Registration and Documentation

Registration of Bahamian ships may take place in Nassau, London or New York. The owner must submit a written application for registrations. Original documentation is required as follows:
Name of ship *
Former Tonnage Certificate *
Former Survey Certificate and/or copy of Certificate of Registry *
Former SOLAS Certificate *
Passenger Ship: Passenger Ship Safety Certificate
Cargo Ship:
Cargo Ship Safety Construction Certificate (500GT)
Cargo Ship Safety Equipment Certificate (500GT)
Safety Radiotelegraphy Certificate (1600 GT)
Safety Radiotelegraphy Certificate (300 GT)
MARPOL 1973 Oil Pollution Certificate (over 150 GT tankers; 400 GT other)
Former Load line Certificate*
Number of Passengers (if any)*
Number of Crew Berths (including master)*
Application for Safe Manning Certificate*
Bill of Sale or Builders Certificate (new ship)*
Declaration of Ownership*
Certificate of Company Incorporation and Certificate of Good Standing*
Managing Owner*
Authorized Officer Declaration*
Oil Pollution Certificate (Tankers only) (CLC)*
Annual Fee*
Particulars of Radio Equipment Installed*
Radio Accounting Authority Identification Code (AAIC)*
Maritime Mobile Service identity Number (MMSI) ($50)*
Release from Foreign Register
Declaration of no Liens on Foreign Register
Carving note returned duly completed
Survey and First Nautical Inspection satisfactorily completed
*(For Provisional Registration)

Upon approval of the vessel for entry onto the Bahamian flag and receipt of the requisite documentation and fees, the Registrar issues a Provisional Certificate of Registry and ancillary certificates including a Ship's Carving and Marking note to be certified by a Bahamian nautical inspector. Ships may be provisionally registered for a duration of six months while the necessary documents are being collected for permanent registration. The Bahamian Maritime Authority, however, stresses that this is not a way to avoid safety inspections.

Bahamian law allows for the recording of a mortgage against a provisionally registered ship.
Registration Costs:
Panamax - $7,653.60 VLCC - $21,457.26

Bareboat Charter Registration

The Bahamas allows bareboat charter registration of vessels into the Bahamian flag. Documentation is required from the original country of registration authorizing the temporary transfer of registry and notifying The Bahamas of any encumbrances against the ship. The Bahamian Registrar will inform the foreign registry of the dual registration. In order to bareboat charter register into The Bahamas, the charterer must be a citizen or body corporate established under the laws of The Bahamas; all requirements for provisional and permanent registration must be met; and authorization is required from the Principal Registrar for the temporary bareboat registration under the Bahamian flag.

Ships registered permanently in The Bahamas may also be bareboat chartered to any citizen of a foreign country or to a body corporate established under the laws of a foreign country. In these cases, the Certificate of Registry for the Bahamian ship is suspended for the duration of the bareboat charter, and the foreign registry will also be informed of any relevant mortgages. The ship is not prohibited from trading in Bahamian ports, and mortgages may be recorded against it. However, for the length of the bareboat charter, the ship is not considered a Bahamian vessel and cannot fly the Bahamian flag. Bahamian registration and annual fees are payable for the ship during the parallel registration.
The documentation necessary to bareboat charter out of the flag include the original written request of the owner, an original or certified copy of the bareboat charter agreement, and the original written consent of all mortgagees.

Vessel and Yacht Eligibility & Survey Requirements

Foreign-owned ships are eligible to be registered in The Bahamas if they are:
Less than 12 years old at the time of first registry

Oceangoing vessels of 1,600 or more NRT and engaged in "foreign going trade" (engaged in trade that is not exclusively within The Bahamas Islands or between The Bahamas and the east coast of Florida).
Vessels less than 1,600 tons or older than 12 years are registered with the permission of the Minister if certain conditions are met.

Surveys for the issuance of SOLAS, Load Line, and MARPOL and other relevant statutory certificates may be conducted on the Registry's behalf by surveyors of the following classification societies:
American Bureau of Shipping
Bureau Veritas
China Classification Society
DNV+
Korean Register of Shipping
Lloyd's Register of Shipping
Nippon Kaiji Kyokai
Registro Italiano Navale
Russian Maritime Register of Shipping

All Bahamian registered ships shall be inspected for safety before the ship is put into service, in some cases prior to registration, in most cases within six months of first registry and then annually thereafter and whenever the ship is involved in an accident, or when major changes/repairs are made. Inspections for the annual Bahamian Ship Safety Inspection Certificates are made by nautical inspectors who are drawn from the international ranks of qualified marine surveyors.

Crewing

The employment of crews on Bahamian ships is governed by the Merchant Shipping Act and related regulations governing the competency of officers and seamen, crew agreements, discipline and crew accommodation. no minimum wage rates are specified and recognition of trade unions remains at the discretion of the shipowner.

The STCW Convention, as amended in 1995, is applied to Bahamian ships and their crews through the Merchant Shipping (Training, Certification, Manning and Watchkeeping) Regulations, 1998.
The officers specified on the Minimum Safe Manning Certificate are required to obtain Bahamian licences, which can be issued to the holders of certificates of competency or licences issued by most parties to the STCW Convention. There are no restrictions on the nationality of officers or seamen. Qualification for ratings issued by parties to the STCW Convention are valid for service on Bahamian registered ships. A qualified cook is required on ships over 1000 GRT.

Mortgages

In order to be recorded, the mortgage instrument, duly executed on a Bahamian form, must be presented to the Registrar at the office where the ship was registered. The mortgage must be executed in the presence of an independent third party witness, i.e. notary public, counselor officer, who must make a statement attesting to its execution. Mortgages are recorded in the order presented to the Registrar. When there is more than one mortgage recorded on a ship, priority is determined by the order in time of the recording and not by the order of the date of execution of the mortgages.

Fees

With effect from 01 July 2011, no "Registration Fee" has been applied to any ship joining the Register
Annual Registration Fees (All fees are quoted in Bahamian $) (Updated 04/20/2021)
Current exchange rate 1 BSD$ = 1 US$
Registration Fees
2021 Fees (BSD$)
For ships of 2000 net tons or less
Waived
For ships greater than 2000 net tons but not greater than 5000 net tons
Waived
For ships greater than 5000 net tons but not greater than 25,000 net tons
Waived
For ships greater than 25000 net tons
Waived
For Charter Yachts
Waived
For Private Yachts
Waived
Annual Registration Fees
2021 Fees (BSD$)
For Private Yachts
$700
For ships of 2000 net tons or less
$2,552
For ships greater than 2000 net tons but not greater than 5000 net tons
$2,155 plus $0.20 per ton
For ships greater than 5000 net tons
$2,305 plus $0.17 per ton
For Charter Yachts
$1,000 plus $0.20 per ton
For Home Trade Ships of 2000 net tons or less
$725
For Home Trade Ships of not less than 2001 net tons
$600 plus $0.13 per net ton
Registration Associated Fees
Description
Fee
Change of Name of a Ship/Yacht
$250
Issue of a Transcript of Register
$100
Issue of a Certificate of Registry
$150
Issue of a Certificate of Closure/Deletion
$1,000
Issue of a Continuous Synopsis Record
$150
Continuous Synopsis Record Annual Maintenance
$150
Issue of a Consent Letter to Bareboat Charter
$200
Allotment of Signal Letters
$50
Allotment of an Identification Number
$50
Issue of an Extension Provisional Certificate of Registry
$200
Issue of a Certificate/Document/Letter for which no specific fee is stipulated
$150
Set of Registration documents
$280
Certification of a Document or Certificate
$100
Registration Anew
$1,000
Issue of Radio Licence Certificate
$150
Permit to Operate for a High Speed Craft
$300
Registration of transfer of ownership by bill of sale or transmission, or of mortgage or transfer, discharge of a mortgage of a ship, or share therein where the ship does not exceed 1,600 net tons
$200
Where the ship exceeds 1,600 net registered tons
$400
Annual Radio Spectrum Licence
$150
Services rendered for which no specific fee is
stipulated per hour of the work
- Insurer Review
- Mortgage Affidavit of Loss
- Registrar Deletion Process
- Registrar Transaction Assistance Fee $150 per hr
Allotment of an Identification Number ( Bahamas Official Number) $50
Issue of a Certificate/Document/Letter for which
no specific fee is stipulated (Provisional Certificate of Registry) $150
Name reservation (valid for 1 year and offset against registration fees once registered)
$250

Manning, Seafarers and STCW Fees
Description
Fee
Issue of a Certificate or Endorsement for a seafarer
$130
Renewal of a Certificate or Endorsement issued to a seafarer
$130
Notice of Eligibility application for Bahamas National Certificate of Competency $50
Written Assessment for Bahamas National Certificate of Competency
$200
Oral Assessment for Bahamas National Certificate of Competency $200
STCW Course Approval
$90 per course
Inspection and assessment for approval of training or centre
$150 per hr plus travel and accommodation
Issue of Seaman's Record Book
$50
Validating of a Certificate of Discharge $73
Issue of a Safe Manning Document
$200
Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) Fees
Description
Fee
Issue of an initial LRIT Conformance Test Report (CTR)
$400
Issue of an Amended/Duplicate CTR
$200
LRIT Annual Maintenance
$200
Civil Liability Certificate (CLC) Fees
Description
Fee
Issue of a Certificate of Civil Liability (Oil) for a Bahamas registered ship
$150
Issue of a Certificate of Civil Liability (Oil) for a non-Bahamas registered ship
$300
Issue of a Certificate of Civil Liability (Bunker) for a Bahamas registered ship
$150
Issue of a Certificate of Civil Liability (Bunker) for a non-Bahamas registered ship
$300
Annual Issue of a Certificate of Civil Liability (Oil) for a Bahamas registered ship $150
Annual Issue of a Certificate of Civil Liability (Bunker) for a Bahamas registered ship $150

Miscelleaneous Fees
Description
Fee
Courier Charges
From $60
Retrieval of any document from storage
$50
Attendance at unusual hours: Mondays to Fridays inclusive between 18:00 and 08:00.
$200 per hr
Attendance at unusual hours: Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays
$300 per hr
Issue of an Exemption/Dispensation
$150
Issue a Statement or Letter $150

Professional fees/services rendered by BMA staff for which no specific fee is stipulated
$150 per hr
Fast track fee for seafarer documents or ship's certificate $150 per request
Issue of a Statement of Authorisation to undertake fisheries transhipment operations in the NEAFC Regulatory Area $600
Issue of a Statement of Authorisation to undertake fisheries transhipment operations in the ICCAT Regulatory Area $600 1
Issue of a Statement of Authorisation to undertake fisheries transhipment operations in the Norwegian EEZ and the waters around Svalbard 2 $600
Issue of a Statement of Authorisation to undertake fisheries transhipment operations in the WCPFC Regulatory Area POA
Issue of a Document of Approval for Electronic Record Keeping Systems $300
Issue of a Document of Approval for Electronic Record Keeping Systems $300
Bahamas Approved Service Providers (BASP) for servicing of Lifesaving Appliances in accordance with MSC.402(96)3 (per service station4 ):
New Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) applicant for servicing of own equipment only $250
New OEM applicant for servicing own and another maker's equipment $400 $400
New applicant holding an authorisation from a Bahamas Recognised Organisation $500
New applicant that does NOT hold authorisation from a Bahamas Recognised Organisation $800
New applicant authorised solely by another Flag State Administration
$800
Ship Operator authorisation
POA
Renewal of current Bahamas Certificate of Authorisation
$400
Amendment to existing Bahamas Certificate of Authorisation
$150
BASP "one off" Authorisation $150
Non BASP "one off" Authorisation $300
3 Please refer to Marine Notice 83
4 BASP with between 4 and 10 service stations subject to a discount of 20%. BASP with more than 10 service stations subject to a discount of 30%

Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC 2006) Fees
Description
Fee
Issue of a DMLC Part I for a Bahamas registered ship
$150
Annual Issue of MLC Statement of Acceptance of Financial Security for a Bahamas registered ship
$150
Review of request for MLC 2006 Exemption or Equivalency for a Bahamas registered ship
$150 per hr

Wreck Removal Insurance Certificate Fees
Description
Fee
Issue of a Certificate of Wreck Removal for a Bahamas registered ship
$150
Annual Issue of a Certificate of Wreck Removal for a Bahamas registered ship
$150
Issue of a Certificate of Wreck Removal for a non-Bahamas registered ship
$300

Contact

Bahamas Maritime Authority
3rd Floor, 120 Old Broad Street
London EC2N 1AR
United Kingdom
Tel: [44] 20 7562 1300
Fax: [44] 20 7256 5619

Email: reg@bahamasmaritime.com
Website: www.bahamasmaritime.com

BMA Emergency Response Officer
Tel: +44 7977 471220
Email: ero@bahamasmaritime.com

Ship Registration
Carolyn Moree
Tel: [44] 20 7562 1310
Email: cmoree@bahamasmaritime.com

Inspections and Surveys
Stephen Keenan
Tel: [44] 20 7562 1346
Email: skeenan@bahamasmaritime.com

Crewing
Capt. Dwain Hutchinson
Tel: [44] 20 7562 1330
Email: dhutchinson@bahamasmaritime.com

Ship Registration - Nassau
Katie Clarke
Assistant Director Registrar
Bahamas Maritime Authority
Shirlaw House
226 Shirley Street
PO Box N-4679
Nassau, the Bahamas
Tel: [1] 242 356 5772
Fax: [1] 242 356 5889
Email: kclarke@bahamasmaritime.com
nassau@bahamasmaritime.com

Ship Registration - New York
Christine Scavella
Deputy Director Registrar
Bahamas Maritime Authority
231 East 46th St.
New York, NY 10017
Tel: [1] 212 829 0221
Fax: [1] 212 829 0356
Email: cscavella@bahamasmaritime.com
newyork@bahamasmaritime.com

Greece - Piraeus
George K. Zarvanos
Regional Director
10, Antoniou Ampatielou Str.
185 36 Piraeus, Greece
Tel: [30] 210 429 3802-4
Tel: [30] 211 198 3175
Fax: [44] 20 7614 0675
Mobile: [30] 694 097 7228
Mobile (UK): [44] 778 950 1440
Email: gzarvanos@bahamasmaritime.com

Ship Registration - Hong Kong
Jahangir Hussain
Regional Director
Suite 813-14, Ocean Centre
5 Canton Road
Tsimshatsui, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2522 0095
Fax: +852 2522 0094
Email: hongkong@bahamasmaritime.com
Email: jhussain@bahamasmaritime.com

Tokyo Office
Mr Hiroyuki Miike
Registrar
Mitsui Soko Co., Ltd., Ship Registration Team, 3-20-1, Nishi-shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan 105-0003
Tel +(81) 3 6400 8306
Fax: +(81) 3 6880 9936
E-mail: miike@mitsui-soko.co.jp

London Office
3rd Floor, 120 Old Broad Street
London EC2N 1AR
United Kingdom
Tel: [44] 20 7562 1300
Fax: [44] 20 7256 5619
Email: reg@bahamasmaritime.com

Company Formation
Kevin Turnquest
Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Finance
Cecil Wallace-Whitfield Centre
West Bay Street
P.O. Box N-3017
Nassau, N.P., the Bahamas
Tel: [1] (242) 327 1530
Fax: [1] (242) 327 1618
Email: financemail@bahamas.gov.bs
Email: mofgeneral@bahamas.gov.bs
Website: www.bahamas.gov.bs/finance
Bahamas Investment Authority

Office of the Prime Minister
2nd Floor Cecil-Wallace-Whitfield Center
P.O. Box CB-10990
Nassau, N.P., the Bahamas
Tel: (242) 327-5826-8
Tel: (242) 702-5500-3
Fax: (242) 327-5806
Email: bia@bahamas.gov.bs
Website: http://www.bahamas.gov.bs/bia

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 Bahamas

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 x
CSC amendments 93
SFV Protocol 93
Cape Town Agreement 2012
STCW Convention 78 x
STCW-F Convention 95
SAR Convention 79
STP Agreement 71
Space STP Protocol 73
IMSO Convention 76 x
INMARSAT OA 76 x
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
London Convention Protocol 96
INTERVENTION Convention 69 x
INTERVENTION Protocol 73 x
CLC Convention 69 d
CLC Protocol 76 x
CLC Protocol 92 x
FUND Protocol 76 x
FUND Protocol 92 x
FUND Protocol 2003
NUCLEAR Convention 71
PAL Convention 74 x
PAL Protocol 76 x
PAL Protocol 90
PAL Protocol 02
LLMC Convention 76 x
LLMC Protocol 96
SUA Convention 88 x
SUA Protocol 88 x
SUA Convention 2005
SUA Protocol 2005
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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