OFFICIAL GUIDE TO SHIP & YACHT REGISTRIES

Kenya

Shipowner Eligibility 

Those eligible to register a ship in Kenya include:
• The Government;
• Nationals of Kenya;
• Corporations registered in Kenya;
• Individuals or corporations owning ships hired out on bareboat charter to nationals of Kenya;
• Individuals or corporations in bona fide joint venture shipping enterprise relationships with nationals of Kenya as may be prescribed;
• Other persons as the Minister may by order determine.

About the Flag

The Republic of Kenya is located in Eastern Africa bordering the Indian Ocean between Somalia and Tanzania and has a coastal line of 640 kilometers. The President is the Chief of State and Head of Government, and there is a unicameral National Assembly. The legal system is based on English common law, tribal law, and Islamic law. The capital is Nairobi, and English and Swahili are both official languages. Kenya is a member of the UN, the IMO, the OAU, and the Commonwealth of Nations. Kenya’s chief exports are tea and coffee, and its major trading partners are the EC countries. The currency is the Kenyan shilling.

In pursuit of its agenda in maritime transport and to further strengthen its maritime administration, the Government of Kenya established Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) in 2004, for the purpose of transferring areas of responsibility over shipping concerns from the Merchant Shipping Department of Kenya Ports Authority to an independent Governmental Authority (parastatal). Thus KMA under the Incorporation Order is responsible for Port and Flag State implementation of various international instruments relating to maritime transport. The Authority aims to broaden and modernize the institutional and legal framework for the implementation of maritime safety, security and the preservation of the marine environment.

National maritime legislation remains one of the primary tools for attaining international standards in safety and security and the preservation of the marine environment. Only through such regulations can the Government enforce international maritime conventions, especially those emanating from the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Such rules and regulations are also relevant for the implementation of national maritime safety, security and marine environment conventions/programmes.

A relevant development to KMA’s mandate and activities is the Kenya Government’s decision on private sectors’ involvement in the operations of Mombasa Port. In this context there shall be a need to update and revise national commercial maritime legislation to complement the activities of KMA by taking on board recent developments in the international maritime field. Commercial legislation will also enhance the development especially of an international vibrant shipping industry and help the Government not only achieve its objectives under the current Poverty Reduction Strategy but also the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

The statutes that guide the operations of Kenya Maritime Authority are the KMA Act 2006 and the Merchant Shipping Act, 2009 which came into effect on 1st September 2009. Establishment of KMA therefore marked a major milestone in Kenya's maritime industry.

Company Formation

Entries in the register in relation to property in a ship shall be made in accordance with the following provisions:
• The property in a ship shall be divided into sixty-four shares;
• subject to the provisions of this Act with respect to joint owners or owners by transmission, not morethan sixty-four individuals shall be entitled to be registered at the same time as owners of any one ship; but this rule shall not affect the beneficial title of any number of persons or of any company represented by or claiming under or through any registered owner or joint owner;
• A person shall not be entitled to be registered as owner of a fractional part of a share in a ship, but any number of persons not exceeding five may be registered as joint owners of a ship or of any share or shares therein;
• Joint owners shall be considered as constituting one person only as regards the persons entitled to be registered, and shall not be entitled to dispose in severalty of any interest in a ship, or in any share therein in respect of which they are registered;
• A body corporate shall be registered as owner by its corporate name.

Taxation

Taxation is under the auspices of the Kenya Revenue Authority within the Ministry of Finance. Taxes are payable to the Principal Collector of Income Tax. It is worth noting that the Value Added Tax (VAT) for foreign owned shipping lines is zero rated provided that payment thereof is made in foreign currency or from a shipping resident account operated under the Exchange Control Notice Number 17. Vessels owned or operated by companies of the Federal Republic of Germany or the United Kingdom of Great Britain including Northern Ireland, are exempt from paying income tax on shipping in Kenya. Vessels owned or operated by companies from the following countries which have entered into double taxation agreements with Kenya are charged taxes on gross receipts at the appropriate rates:
Canada 1.3%
Denmark 1.4%
India 1.0%
Norway 1.0%
Sweden 1.0%

Registration and Documentation

Permanent Registration
The following forms should be submitted to the Kenya Maritime Authority for permanent vessel registration:
• Provisional Certificate of Registry, if any
• Declaration of ownership on behalf of body corporate
• Declaration by individual owner or transferee
• Ship’s Carving and Marking Note
• Kenyan Tonnage Certificate
• Notice of name proposed for Kenyan ship

Faxed documents are accepted. Certificates of Registry have no expiration.

Provisional Registration
Overseas Kenyan Consuls are authorized to accept registration documents and issue Provisional Certificates of Registry. A provisional certificate shall have the effect of a certificate of registry until the expiration of three months after its date of issue or until the arrival of the ship at a port in Kenya, whichever happens earlier, and on either of those events happening shall cease to have effect.
The master of every ship in respect of which a provisional certificate is issued under this section shall, within ten days of the ship’s first arrival at a port in Kenya deliver the certificate to the Registrar of Ships, and where any master fails to comply with this sub-section, he commits an offence and shall be liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding three hundred thousand shillings, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to both such fine and imprisonment.

Registration Under Construction
The Registrar shall keep a register book for ships under construction which shall contain the names of the ships under construction. A ship under construction may be entered in the register book for ships under construction from the date of the signing of the contract for construction until it is placed on another register after completion.

Registration of Small Ships
A small ship that trades outside the limits of Kenyan territorial waters is required to be registered. For more information, consult the Merchant Shipping Act.

Bareboat Charter Registration

A bareboat charter registration shall remain in force, unless terminated by virtue of registration regulations and subject to any suspension thereunder, for twenty four months or until the end of the charter period, whichever is earlier.

Throughout the period for which a ship is registered by bareboat charter:
• The ship shall, as a Kenyan ship, be entitled to fly the Kenyan flag;
• This Act and any other law on marine pollution for the time being in force shall apply to the ship as a Kenyan ship or as a registered ship; and
• Any other law applicable to Kenyan ships registered under this Act shall apply to the ship as a Kenyan ship or as a Kenyan registered ship.

The private law provisions for bareboat chartered ships make provisions shall be determined by reference to the law of the country of original registration.

A ship shall not be registered by bareboat charter without documentary proof that her registration in the underlying or original registry has been deleted.

Vessel and Yacht Eligibility & Survey Requirements

For further information, consult the Merchant Shipping Act.

Crewing

For further information, consult the Merchant Shipping Act.

Mortgages

A registered ship, or a share in any such ship, may be made a security for a loan or the discharge of any other obligation. The instrument creating any such security (referred to as a "mortgage") shall be in the prescribed form and submitted to the Registrar of Ships, who shall register the mortgage in the prescribed manner. Mortgages shall be recorded by the Registrar of Ships in the order in which they are produced for the purposes of registration and the registrar shall enter and sign on each mortgage a statement to the effect that it has been registered by him, stating the date and time of the registration.

Where it is stated in the mortgage instrument that it is prohibited to create further mortgages over a vessel without the prior written consent of the mortgagee, the Registrar of Ships shall make a note in the register to such effect, and the Registrar of Ships shall not register any further mortgage unless the consent in writing of the holder of a prior mortgage is produced to him, and any mortgage registered in violation of this provision shall be null and void.

Fees

For further information, consult the Merchant Shipping Act.

Contact

Kenya Maritime Authority
Kenya Maritime Authority
Mr Robert Njue
Director General
P. O Box 95076
White House
Moi Avenue
Mombasa
80104
Kenya

Phone
+254202381203
+254733221322

Email
INFO@KMA.GO.KE
DG@KMA.GO.KE

Mr John Omingo
Head of Commercial Shipping
P.O Box 95076
White House
Moi Avenue
Mombasa
Kenya
80104
Kenya

Phone
+254733889386
+254202381203

Email
info@kma.go.ke
jomingo@kma.go.ke

Web
https://www.kma.go.ke

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 Kenya

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 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 x
London Convention Protocol 96 x
INTERVENTION Convention 69
INTERVENTION Protocol 73
CLC Convention 69 d
CLC Protocol 76
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
LLMC Protocol 96 x
SUA Convention 88 x
SUA Protocol 88 x
SUA Convention 2005
SUA Protocol 2005
SALVAGE Convention 89 x
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= ratification
d=denunciation

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