OFFICIAL GUIDE TO SHIP & YACHT REGISTRIES

Colombia

Shipowner Eligibility 

Investment activities in Colombia are open to foreigners without exception, and foreign investors have equal rights in Colombia with local investors. Therefore, individuals or corporations of any nationality may own 100% of the shares of a Colombian vessel.

About the Flag

A member of the OAS, the UN, and the IMO, Colombia is located in northern South America bordering the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean. Colombia is a Spanish speaking republic with a dominating executive branch headed by a President. There is a bicameral Congress, and the legal system is based on Spanish law. The capital is Bogota.

Colombia’s economy has grown rapidly since the early 1990s due to government reform measures. Oil, coal, and coffee are the chief exports to the United States, the EC, and Venezuela. The currency is the Colombian peso. The Ship Registry is under the authority of the Ministry of National Defense and is governed by Decrees No. 2324 (Sept 18/84); No. 2451 (Jul 31/86); No. 1423 (Jun 30/89); 2327 (Oct 15/91); and 2384 (Oct 21/91)

Company Formation

Colombian law authorizes many company forms including a one person company, a collective association where members have "in solidum" liability, and a partnership in commendam with two kinds of partners (those that own shares and those that act as managers). However, partnerships, anonymous associations, and branches of foreign corporations are the most commonly used.

Partnerships are used in Colombia whenever small capital investments are involved and also for small groups of persons that know each other and want to join in a common project or business. A partnership in Colombia is an entity in which partners have a limited liability equal to each partner's share or participation within the company's capital. The partnership's capital must be totally paid by the time the partnership is incorporated, and capital is divided in shares of equal value. A partnership may have a maximum of 25 partners. The entity's name must include the words "Limited" or Ltd." All partners have the right to participate in the entity's representation and management, and they may appoint one or more managers. A corporation or another partnership may be a partner.

Partnerships must be registered before the Chamber of Commerce in the city in which they will have their principal domicile. Anonymous associations are used in Colombia whenever individuals or companies want to make important capital investments in a fairly important business. It is possible that shareholders may not know each other. "Anonymous association" is the verbatim translation of the words "sociedad anonima." These types of companies are formed by shareholders that limit their liability to the shares they own. These companies require a minimum of five shareholders which may be either individuals, partnerships, or corporate entities. The company name must include the words "anonymous association" or "S.A.". The company's representation and management is performed through a Manager and a Board of Directors that are appointed for this purpose. Different types of shares including ordinary shares, shares that confer privileged rights such as a right to preferential payment of dividends, and nominative or bearer shares are allowed. Foreign corporations that do permanent business in Colombia may do so through a Colombian-based branch. Capital is 100% owned by the foreign company. For all purposes, it is considered that the foreign owned company is doing business in Colombia, and the branch is considered a Colombian citizen. The branch may appoint a Manager and a Board of Directors at its discretion. Under the Colombian Constitution, Colombian citizens and foreigners have the same rights under civil and commercial laws

Taxation

There is no taxation of international shipping income or taxation imposed on the basis of ship ownership. A shipowner is subject to basic taxation under Colombian law including income tax of 35%, value added tax of 16%, seal tax, and potential local taxes. Branches of foreign corporations are also liable for the remittance tax whenever they send funds abroad.

Registration and Documentation

The Colombian Maritime Authority ("DIMAR") accepts communications and documents by fax in order to commence necessary registration proceedings. However, in order to obtain actual registration, original documents must be filed before DIMAR. Documents executed in Columbia need no notarization but all documents issued abroad require notarization and legalization before a Colombian Consulate and a seal from the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Recently Colombia ratified the Apostille Convention, therefore no notarization by Colombian Consuls abroad is required whenever a document is issued by a country who is also a signatory of the Apostille Convention, and said apostille is obtained. Actual registration may not be completed before a Colombian Consul abroad. The proceedings must take place before the Captain of the Port where the vessel will be registered, and all forms must be submitted to him. There are currently 18 Captains of the Port at Barranquella, Buenaventura, Cartagena, Santa Marta, Tumaco and some of the smaller ports. There is no provisional registration;
Colombian laws contemplate only permanent registration.

In order to register a vessel in Colombia, the following must be submitted to the Captain of the Port:
Three copies of the public script that evidences the property of the vessel
Sanitary patent (public health patent) issued by the Port Authority
Certificate of Existence and Good Standing if the vessel is owned by a partnership or corporation
Three photographs of the vessel, side or flank pictures, 4 x 6 cm in size
Three photographs of the vessel, one each of the bow, stern, and side, 15 x 26 cm in size
Evidence that the vessel was actually delivered, issued by the shipyard
Photocopy of the Construction License, issued by DIMAR, wherever possible
Updated Certificate of Arching (Gauging)
Updated Certificate asserting lack of reports related to drug trafficking
Updated Certificate of the kind of hull of the ship and engines, issued by a classification society authorized by DIMAR Pursuant to article 1442, property of the vessels that have been registered or constructed in a foreign country will be evidenced pursuant to the applicable foreign law. DIMAR is trying to establish a centralized registry. However, the Captains of the Ports are still the primary source of information for registration and for ship mortgages

Bareboat Charter Registration

Dual registration into or out of the Colombian flag is not permitted.

Vessel and Yacht Eligibility & Survey Requirements

There are no age or tonnage restrictions for Colombian vessels. The basic certificates required for registration are the Ship Safety Construction, Ship Safety Hull and Machinery, Final Classification, Load Line International (for oilers over 150 GRT and bulk carriers over 400 GRT), Safety Equipment, and Safety Radiotelegraphy and/or Radiotelephone Certificates. A survey of GRT and NRT are also required. These certificates may be issued by the following authorized classification societies:
American Bureau of Shipping
Bureau Veritas
DNV
Lloyd's Register of Shipping
Nippon Kaiji Kyokai

Crewing

The master, officers, and 80% of the crew of Colombian vessels must be Colombian nationals.

Mortgages

Both major and minor vessels may be mortgaged. A ship mortgage in Colombia is effected through a Public Script issued by a Public Notary. Said Public Script shall include the following information:
Name, citizenship, and domicile of both the creditor and debtor

Amount of credit or obligation that is being insured through the mortgage, stating clearly the liquidated amount and applicable interests.
Date in which the term expires for payment of capital and interest
Name, description, tonnage, and full characteristics of the vessel
Estimated value of the vessel on the date the mortgage is entered
Indications about insurances and other mortgages or property limitations
Any other provisions agreed to by and between the parties

The mortgage is registered with the Captain of the Port at the port where the vessel was registered.
There is no centralized mortgage recording system. If the mortgage involves a vessel that is currently under construction, said mortgage will be registered with the Captain of the Port with jurisdiction over the location of the shipyard. Registration of mortgages with the Captain of the Port must be made within 30 days following the date when the public script was issued. If the public script was issued abroad, the term is 90 days. Several mortgages may be recorded against a single vessel with priority being determined by the first to be recorded with the Captain of the Port.

Fees

For more information, contact:
Registration
Direccion General Marítima (DIMAR)
Carrera 54 No. 26 - 50 Of. 102
CAN Bogota, D.C. - Colombia
Tel: (571) 2 200490
Fax: (571) 2 200490 Ext. 2213
Email: dimar@dimar.mil.co; contactenos@dimar.mil.co
Website: http://www.dimar.mil.co/
Company Formation
Cámara de Comercio
Avenida Eldorado No. 68D-35
Bogotá D.C. - Colombia
Website: http://ingles.ccb.org.co/portal/default.aspx

Contact

Dirección General Marítima-DIMAR
Carrera 54 No. 26-50 CAN
Bogotá, DC.
Colombia
Phone
(+571) 2200490 Ext: 2354
(+571) 2200490 Ext: 2441
Email
cgrasi@dimar.mil.co
nsuareztr@dimar.mil.co
Fax
(+571) 2200490 Ext: 2213

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 Colombia

IMO Convention 48 x
SOLAS Convention 74 x
SOLAS Protocol 78 x
SOLAS Protocol 88
SOLAS Agreement 96
LOAD LINES Convention 66 x
LOAD LINES Protocol 88
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 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)
London Convention 72
London Convention Protocol 96
INTERVENTION Convention 69
INTERVENTION Protocol 73
CLC Convention 69 d
CLC Protocol 76 d
CLC Protocol 92 x
FUND Protocol 76 d
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
LLMC Protocol 96
SUA Convention 88
SUA Protocol 88
SUA Convention 2005
SUA Protocol 2005
SALVAGE Convention 89
OPRC Convention 90 x
HNS Convention 96
HNS PROT 2010
OPRC/HNS 2000 x
BUNKERS CONVENTION 01
ANTI FOULING 2001
BALLASTWATER 2004
NAIROBI WRC 2007
HONG KONG CONVENTION

x: Accession/ratification
d: Denunciation

Subscribe to Newsletter

Stay up-to date with the latest news and updates

Thanks for submitting!

Company Info

Social

  • Facebook
  • Twitter