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Canary Islands (Special Register for Spain)

Shipowner Eligibility 

The party seeking registration must be the owner of the vessel, its bareboat charter, or it must have another title implying navigation or trade management being vested in a maritime firm that is also registered.

About the Flag

Located in the Atlantic Ocean west of Morocco, the Canary Islands form two provinces of Spain. The 15th Additional Provision of the Law of Ports and the Merchant Navy of 24th November 1992 created a special register in the Canary Islands. The Spanish Ministry of Civil Works is responsible for this register, which has offices in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

In respect of Spanish vessels, entry on this special register requires cancellation of any entries on the ordinary register. It also accepts registration of foreign vessels.

The registered office of the owner must be in the Canary Islands. Any kind of vessel may be registered apart from fishing vessels. The requirements for registration are as follows:

(a) The vessel must be a civil ship used for commercial navigation. Fishing ships are excluded.

(b) It must be at least 100 GT.

This entry was prepared with the kind assistance of Lara Hidalgo | Iberian Yachts Consulting

Company Formation

In addition to ships, both Spanish and foreign shipping companies may apply for registration if the ship's operations are controlled from the Canary Islands, or from another Spanish region or a foreign country - provided that the company has permanent offices or representatives in the Canary Islands.


Shipping companies registered in the Canary Islands enjoy a very favorable tax regime. While every situation is considered on a case by case basis, specific benefits can include:
(i) Exemption from Patrimony Transmission Tax (ITPAJD) for all acts and contracts related to registered vessels, which is usually applied at the rate of 6% of the value of the transaction;
(ii) A 90% reduction in Social Security rates
(iii) A 90% reduction in company tax. Further, Spanish crew on registered foreign vessels may benefit from a 50% reduction in income tax.

Registration and Documentation

For more information, contact:
Registro Central de Buques
Direccion General de la Marina Mercante
Ministerio de Fomento
C/ Ruiz Alarcón, núm.1
28071 Madrid, España
Tel: +34 - 1 - 5979225
Fax: +34 - 1 - 5979236
Registro Especial de Buques
Capitanía Marítima de Las Palmas
Las Palmas - Islas Canarias
Tel: +34 - 928 - 468289
Registro Especial de Buques
Capitanía Marítima de Santa
Cruz de Tenerife
Santa Cruz de Tenerife - Islas
Canarias (España)
Tel: +34 - 922 - 290705

Bareboat Charter Registration

In the case of bareboat charters, the flag will be obtained through the provisional flag granting procedure (see above). Validity of the provisional flag is restricted to the period prescribed in the cancellation certificate. The required documents are:
A form signed by the applicant together with an official document evidencing the import of the ship.
The charter party.
A certificate evidencing deletion from the original register.
A document proving payment of customs fees.
The proposed name of the ship.
Documents evidencing compliance with security standards prescribed by Spanish law and by international conventions signed by Spain.

Vessel and Yacht Eligibility & Survey Requirements

The vessel must have certificates evidencing its compliance with security standards established by Spanish Law and by international conventions signed by Spain when the ship comes from a different register.

The vessel must have certificates evidencing payment of customs duties.

The vessel must be exclusively used for external, international or coastal navigation in European Union waters, under the prescribed conditions where appropriate.


The Master and the Chief Officer must be Spanish citizens.

At least 50% of the remaining crew must be Spanish or European Union citizens, except where authorized by the Ministry of Civil Works and as long as the vessel's safety and safety in navigation is guaranteed.
The minimum crew will be determined according to factors such as the type of ship, its level of automation and its intended trade, but always subject to the considerations of the ship's safety and safety in navigation.

Spanish legislation on employment and social security will be applied to the crew, although non-Spanish citizens may expressly opt for another country's legislation to apply, provided and International Conventions and EU legislation ratified by Spain is respected.


To be fully effective in administrative terms, the Merchant Navy Office or delegate authority at provincial level must be informed of the creation, alteration or discharge of charges, encumbrances and mortgages.
Mortgages on vessels are governed by the Decree of 28th July 1989 and the Mercantile Register Regulations of 1956 (arts. 145-190) and 1996 (DT13). Mortgages on ships must be in writing, and can be in the form of a public deed, a document signed by a broker or a simple private document. However, if granted to secure a current account or bearer certificates, the mortgage must be granted in a public deed. Mortgages must be entered on the Mercantile Register of the province in which the vessel is registered. Registered mortgages confer on the mortgagee all rights inherent in this type of security, such as preference over ordinary creditors of the mortgagor, and the right to follow the mortgaged property in order to obtain repayment of the credit notwithstanding a change of ownership. However, some creditors will have preference over the mortgagee: for example the State, provincial or municipal authorities and creditors for pilotage and port fees and for unpaid wages. The limitation period for an action to request the sale of the mortgaged vessel is ten years. In principle, mortgages of ships granted in foreign countries should be formalized before a Spanish consular official. However, the Mercantile Register Regulations 1956 acknowledge registration of mortgages granted before the competent foreign authorities in accordance with the legislation of the foreign country.


The performances of the Registers of ships and shipping companies governed by Article 75 and Fifteenth Additional Provision of Law 27/1992, will result in the perception of the following rates, in amounts approved by Law 24/2001 and amended annually by the State Budget Act.
Fee: € 0.172302 per unit tonnage. Minimum € 17.27.
Lowest rate: € 0.172302 per unit tonnage. Minimum € 17.27.
Administrative proceedings intermediate rate
First rate. Administrative action, at the request of a party, lead sheet notation on seat € 17.23
Second rate. Certifications parte, seat back sheets for each € 6.892115
Rate third. Simple copy the contents of the records € 17.23
Payment of the fee shall be made ​​in cash, or billed in collaborating depository Ministry of Finance, in the standard form " 790025_______ "to be facilitated by the dependence of the Directorate General of Merchant Marine where service is requested .
When a request is made by a resident from abroad, payment of the fee may be made by bank transfer to the following account:
Headline Ministry - Overseas rates
Account number: 0182 2458 10 0200000489


c / Velázquez 59, 2nd center right
28001 Madrid
Phone: 913 532 994


Central Ship Registry
General Directorate of the Merchant Marine
Ministry of development
C/Ruiz Alarcón, no.1
28071 Madrid, Spain
Phone: +34 - 1 - 5979225
Fax: +34 - 1 – 5979236

Special Ship Registry

Maritime Captaincy of Las Palmas
Las Palmas - Canary Islands (Spain)
Phone: +34 - 928 - 468289

Shipowner's Association

ANAVE (Association of Spanish Shipowners)
C/ Santa María Magdalena, 10 - 1aC
28016 Madrid, Spain
Phone: +34 - 1 - 3459001
Fax: +34 - 1 – 3459209
ANEN - National Association of Nautical Companies

(Spanish Marine Industry Association)
Avda, Pío XII, 61, Esc. 6 under ext. Left
Phone: 91 353 29 94
Fax: 91 345 36 27



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 Canary Islands (Special Register for Spain)

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 x
Cape Town Agreement 2012 x
STCW Convention 78 x
STCW-F Convention 95 x
SAR Convention 79 x
STP Agreement 71
Space STP Protocol 73
IMSO Convention 76 x
IMSO amendments 2006
IMSO amendments 2008 x
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 x
PAL Convention 74 d
PAL Protocol 76 d
PAL Protocol 90 d
PAL Protocol 02 x
LLMC Convention 76 d
LLMC Protocol 96 x
SUA Convention 88 x
SUA Protocol 88 x
SUA Convention 2005 x
SUA Protocol 2005 x
SALVAGE Convention 89 x
OPRC Convention 90 x
HNS Convention 96
OPRC/HNS 2000 x

x: Accession/Ratification
d: Denunciation

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