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Shipowner Eligibility 

All types of ships including fishing vessels are eligible for registration on the international register regardless of their owner's nationality or place of incorporation.

About the Flag

Barbados is a parliamentary democracy located between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela. It achieved independence from England in 1966. It has a ministerial government with a bicameral legislature. The Governor General is appointed by the Queen of England; the Prime Minister is the leader of the political party holding the majority of seats in the House of Assembly. The capital is Bridgetown, and English is the primary language.

Barbados boasts one of the highest standards of living of all the small island states of the Eastern Caribbean. The economy is based on tourism and manufacturing, and the primary exports are sugar and molasses, rum, chemicals, and electrical components. The United States and the United Kingdom are the major trading partners. The monetary unit is the Barbadian dollar.

The Shipping Act, 1994 and the Shipping (Oil Pollution) Act, 1994 revised the Barbados Shipping Act (1982). The Principal Registrar in London is the registrar for all foreign-owned ships entered on the international register; the Director of Maritime Affairs is registrar for near coastal and CARICOM trade ships below 150 gross registered tons. A Deputy Principal Registrar is also based in Bridgetown for duties associated with the international register.

Company Formation

Legislation governing company formation are the Companies Act (Cap. 38), operative January 1, 1988 modeled on the Canadian Business Corporations Act; the International Business Companies (Exemption from Taxes) Act; the Exempt Insurance Act; the Barbados Foreign Sales Corporation Act; and the Shipping (Incentives) Act., and the Shipping Corporations Act. The Shipping Corporations Act 1996, which mirrors the provisions of the Companies Act 1982, provides a stand-alone basis for incorporation of a ship ownership or management company, regardless of the ships concerned being registered in Barbados or elsewhere. Shipping Corporations are non-residential and are exempt from taxes.

Domestic, international business companies ("IBCs"), offshore banks, exempt insurance and exempt insurance management companies, and foreign sales corporations ("FSCs") may be formed in Barbados. There are no capital requirements, except in the case of a company seeking a license under the Offshore Banking Act or the Exempt Insurance Act. There is no tax on authorized capital, and no stamp duty is payable on share issue.

One secretary and at least one director (two for a public company) are required, and there are no residency requirements for them. The directors and secretary may be corporations.

Any person can incorporate a company, but usually a lawyer is hired to do so since an attorney must sign the incorporation documents. The person need not be a shareholder or director. The articles of incorporation must include the company's name, define classes of shares (if more than one), and cite any maximum number of shares. The company name must be accepted by the Registrar, and a name may be reserved for 90 days. Ready made companies are not available. It normally takes only one day for a company to be formed.

The following documents must be kept at the company's registered office in Barbados (which may be that of a lawyer, accountant, bank, etc.):
Articles and bylaws as amended
Copy of any unanimous shareholder agreement and all amendments
Minutes of meetings and resolutions of shareholders
Copies of all notices appointing or changing directors and specifying registered office
Register of share and debenture holders, if any
Minutes of directors' meetings
Adequate accounts must be kept in Barbados

One directors' meeting per year is required and need not be in Barbados. Directors' meetings may be held by telephone. Shareholders must meet within 18 months of incorporation and may be held outside of Barbados if all agree. Unanimous written resolutions are acceptable in lieu of directors' or shareholders' meetings.

Annual returns are not necessary for IBCs or FSCs. Financial statements must be audited for companies other than FSCs where the total assets or revenue exceeds US $500,000. Barbados companies are not required to disclose profits. IBCs, FSCs, exempt insurance companies, and exempt insurance management companies are exempt from exchange controls.


Domestic companies are taxed at the rate of 40%. IBCs are taxed at a maximum rate of 2.5%, and FSCs are exempt.

Duty free concessions are granted on articles associated with the building, alteration, refitting, equipping, maintenance, and repair of approved ships. A 10-year income tax concession period is granted in respect of profits and gains arising from the operations of shipping companies, including dividends paid to shareholders. Nonresident shareholders are granted significant tax concessions on dividends.
The International Business Companies Act provides for the exemption from certain taxes in whole or in part of IBCs which are not trading locally.

Double taxation treaties are in effect with:
United Kingdom
United States
The Canadian, British and Swedish tax treaties include "tax sparing" clauses which provide that income tax that would have been payable in Barbados be allowed as credit in Canada or the United Kingdom if the same income is taxable there.

The treaty with Canada does not recognize offshore business legislation for treaty benefits. However, the treaties with Finland and the United States contain less stringent anti-treaty-shopping provisions and recognize the active business concept of corporations engaged in businesses other than banking and insurance. The provisions allow benefits to accrue to third country investors.

The treaties with Finland, Norway, Sweden, and the United States provide for lower rates of withholding taxes on investment income, dividends, interest and royalties, etc. which may be attractive to foreign investors.

Updates and amendments to this list of countries can be found on the Barbados Maritime website at under Taxation.

Registration and Documentation

The registration offices in London and Bridgetown and provisional registrars in Hong Kong, New York, Piraeus, Singapore, and Tokyo may undertake the provisional registration of ships which may last for a period up to six months. However, only the Principal Registrar in London may issue permanent registration.

Application for initial registration should be made by the individual owner or his agent. In the case of corporations, an agent of the corporation must be authorized in writing to act on the corporation's behalf. The Registrar may accept a telex or fax confirmation of that agent's authority.

Emailed or faxed copies of all documents may be submitted for pre-clearance, but original applications and documents for provisional registration must be submitted except for the Bill or Sale or Builder's Certificate and the Certificate of Incorporation for the owning company which may be photocopies. (The original of the Bill of Sale or Builder's Certificate must be presented for permanent registration.)

The application for provisional registration should include the following documents:
Name of Ship Declaration
Survey Certificate Information (descriptive particulars of the ship)
Former Tonnage Certificate with English translation if necessary
Bill of Sale or Builder's Certificate
Authorized Officer Declaration (notarized or under company seal)
Declaration of Ownership (notarized or signed in front of a Barbados Registrar or Consular Officer)
Certificate of Company Incorporation of owning company
Managing Owner/Manager Declaration
Statement from owner as to radio accounting authority for ship
Particulars of radio equipment installed
LRIT test report or Certificate
Evidence of P&I Insurance
Former statutory certificates:
For passenger ship: Safety, Load Line, and MARPOL Certificates;
For cargo ship: Safety Certificate (equipment, construction, radiotelegraphy/telephony/GMDSS, MARPOL/Noxious Substances)
Minimum Safe Manning Application
MMSI application form
Blue card for CLC Bunker Oil Pollution Certificate
CSR data-file
The application for permanent registration should include originals of the following additional documents:
Bill of Sale or Builder's Certificate
Carving and Marking Note returned duly completed
Deletion Certificate or proof from previous registry that deletion is complete
Declaration of no liens on foreign register at time of deletion

Bareboat Charter Registration

Bareboat charter registration is permitted whereby a Barbadian registered ship may be bareboat chartered out for a specific period to another register and may fly that other register's flag, while maintaining its suspended registry with the Barbados Register. Alternatively, ships may be bareboat chartered into the Barbados register for a specific period from another register and fly the Barbados flag during that period. In either case, dual registry arrangements will last for the duration of the charterparty during which time the ship will be subject to the laws of the country of the flag flown.

In order for a foreign vessel to bareboat charter register into the Barbados Registry, the vessel must submit the same application documentation as ships applying for provisional and permanent registration. However, no Mortgage or Bill of Sale may be registered against the vessel during the period of bareboat charter registration.

Barbadian vessels bareboat chartering out of the Register into a foreign flag must submit all application forms as required for provisional and permanent registration into the Barbadian flag plus a photocopy of the charter-party. A Letter of Authority is then issued by the Barbados Register to the owner with a copy held on file in London.

Vessel and Yacht Eligibility & Survey Requirements

Ships over 20 years of age are permitted only if the Principal Registrar is satisfied that the ship is well kept and fully meets the requirements of the Conventions of which Barbados is a party. There are no specific tonnage requirements.

All Barbadian ships are inspected for safety before the ship is put into service or on first registry and annually thereafter by a network of nonexclusive nautical inspectors worldwide. Barbados has delegated all statutory surveys to the following classification societies:
American Bureau of Shipping
Bureau Veritas
China Classification Society
Korean Register of Shipping
Lloyd's Register of Shipping
Nippon Kaiji Kyokai
Registro Italiano Navale
Maritime (Russian) Register of Shipping

All ships transferring to the Barbados Register must present current certification and survey documents from their original flag state or an accredited classification society. The classification society will be asked to issue, as necessary, replacement MARPOL, SOLAS, and other certification under the authority of the Barbados Government. Subsequent statutory surveys are undertaken by classification societies on behalf of the Government of Barbados at intervals specified by the Barbados Shipping Act and the relevant IMO conventions.


Every Barbadian ship must be manned with a crew deemed by the Principal Registrar to be sufficient and efficient from the point of view of safety of life and the purpose of the intended voyage.
Minimum manning standards in place require that certificated officers are provided for ships in accordance with their size, trade and trading area. There are no nationality requirements for officers or crew, save that the foreign administration issuing their Certificates of Competency are ‘white-listed' by the IMO under STCW Provisions. In the case of Officers, their certificate-issuing Administration should have entered into an Agreement under STCW Convention with Barbados.


Mortgages are regulated by Sections 47 to 57, Part I of the Barbados Shipping Act. This act is based on the 1894 United Kingdom Merchant Shipping Act, as amended. The interest of the mortgagors and mortgagees are duly noted and protected under the Act.

Mortgages are ranked in priority according to the date and time of registration in the Barbados Shipping Register and not in the order of the date of the mortgages themselves. Individuals or joint mortgagees and corporations are eligible to enter into mortgages, with no restrictions on nationality.

If a mortgage is registered at the time of provisional registration of the ship, the Registrar handling the provisional registration can also register the mortgage. All details are then sent to the Central Registry Office in London and entered in the Register. An original mortgage instrument, duly executed under company seal or notarized, must be presented.


Initial Registration
< 2000 NT
2000-5000 NT
1.2 x NT+400
5001- 25000
NT 0.5 x NT+4000
>25001 NT
0.2 x NT+11500
Annual Fee
<2000 NT
2000 - 5000 NT
0.21 x NT + 2030
5001 - 25000 NT
0.20 x NT + 2360
>25000 NT
0.04 x NT + 6860
Pleasure Yachts
Initial Fee
Annual Fee
Initial Fee
Annual Fee
Other Fees
Radio Licence annual fee
CSR Maintenance fee
MMSI Registration
Call Sign Registration
Safe Manning Certificate
Mortgage Transactions
Register Transcript
Deletion certificate
Bill of Sale Registration
Change of Vessel Name
Officers Endorsements
Exemption Certificates
Permits to Operate
Declarations of Compliance
STCW Exemptions
SPS Certificates
Change to Register entry
Bunker & Tanker CLC certificates
Bareboat Charter Statements
Registration Discounting
Vessels < 5 years of age and over: 10,000 Net Tons, 20% discount off of initial registration fee
Vessels > 5< 10 years of age and over: 10,000 Net Tons, 10% discount off of initial registration fee
Group vessel registration (>1): 5% off of initial registration fee
Group vessel registration (>3): 10% off of initial registration fee
Group vessel registration (>5): 20% off of initial registration fee
Voluntary enrolment into ‘Safety Watch Programme' for vessels under 10 years of age is recognised with a reduction of10% off annual fees

Safety Watch is a compulsory scheme for ships which when first registering are of 10 years of age or older, whereby vessels are checked annually by independent inspectors according to a check list supplied and regularly updated by the BMSR, based on statistical information derived from MOU detention reporting.


John Austin, Deputy Principal Registrar
Barbados Maritime Ship Registry
Barbados High Commission
1 Great Russell Street
London WC1B 3ND
United Kingdom
Tel: [44] (0) 207 636 5739
Fax: [44] (0) 207 636 5745

Emergency 24 Hour: [44] (0) 7866 601365
Technical Emergencies: [44] (0) 7703 359326


Director of Maritime Affairs
International Transport Division
Ministry of International Business & International Transport
2nd Floor Carlisle House, Hincks Street
Bridgetown, St Michael
Tel: [1] (246) 425 0034
Fax: [1] (246) 425 0101

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 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
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
Cape Town Agreement 2012
SUA Convention 88
SUA Protocol 88

IMO Conventions

Status of Conventions Barbados

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 x
STP Agreement 71
Space STP Protocol 73
IMSO Convention 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 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 x
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
HNS Convention 96

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