OFFICIAL GUIDE TO SHIP & YACHT REGISTRIES

Liberia

Shipowner Eligibility 

The owner of a Liberian vessel must be a Liberian citizen or national. A Liberian corporation (US law), a limited partnership, a limited liability company (LLC) or a company (UK law) is considered to be a national. These nationality requirements may be waived by the Deputy Commissioner when the vessel meets all other requirements, when a genuine need is demonstrated, and the owner qualifies for, secures and maintains registration as a Foreign Maritime Entity (FME) - comparable with registering as a branch. This FME must have an indenture or instrument of trust or charter or Articles of Incorporation which allows ownership or operation of vessels. The FME is empowered to own and operate under the laws of Liberia and to conduct the business of ownership and operation of a Liberian flag vessel.

About the Flag

The Liberian Registry has been in successful operation for over 67 years. It is the second largest registry in the world, measured by gross vessel tonnage, representing over 14 percent of the world’s ocean-going fleet with nearly 4,000 ships of more than 185 million gross tons. As the world’s premier open ship registry, the Liberian Maritime Program is renowned for quality, efficiency, safety and service. Liberia is recognized at the top of every industry “white-list” including the International Maritime Organization and the major Port State Control authorities such as the US Coast Guard and the Paris and Tokyo MOU regimes.

The Liberian Registry is administered by LISCR, LLC, the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry, a U.S. owned and operated company that provides the day-to-day management for the Republic of Liberia's ship and corporate registry. LISCR is recognized globally for its professionalism and commitment to safe and secure shipping as well as its proficient administration of one of the most efficient, technologically advanced and tax effective offshore corporate registries in the world. The Liberian Registry, headquartered in Vienna, Virginia (outside Washington, D.C.) maintains offices in Dubai, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Istanbul, London, Monrovia, New York, Virginia, Panama City, Piraeus, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo and Zurich. It also maintains dedicated representatives in Bergen, Houston, Leer, Limassol, and Rio de Janeiro.

The Registry provides its clients with 24-hour service making it the value-added partner for quality shipowners and shipmanagers in the demanding environment of the global shipping industry. In addition to its regional offices in the major maritime centers of the world, the Liberian Registry is also supported by a worldwide network of more than 400 nautical inspectors and auditors. This global infrastructure ensures that there is always someone available to provide assistance and service anywhere in the world.

Advantages of the Liberian Registry

• Shipping Industry Leader
• Quality Reputation - White Listed in Every Port State Control Jurisdiction
• Recognized for Quality by Oil Majors, OCIMF, CDI and Rightship Inspection Regimes
• Global Service Network – Experienced, Responsive and Practical
• Staff of Shipping Experts, Not Bureaucrats
• Technical and Program Innovations
• First Class Customer Service

History of Liberia's Maritime Program

Located in western Africa bordering the North Atlantic Ocean between Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone, Liberia was established in 1847 by freed American slaves. The only African country to have escaped European colonization, it is a member of the OAU, the UN, the IMO and the ILO. English is the official language, and the capital is Monrovia. There is a dual system of statutory law based on Anglo-American common law and customary law based on unwritten tribal practices for indigenous sector.

The Liberian Registry, established in 1948 by former U.S. Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, is recognized as one of the foremost open ship and corporate registries. During the past 67 years, the country's commitment to safe shipping has remained steadfast.

The Liberian Registry is a sovereign maritime jurisdiction responsible for the registration, regulatory enforcement, and safety of ocean-going ships. The Registry establishes identification details for ships and records legally enforceable documents, such as mortgages and bills of sale.

The Registry is also responsible for the enforcement of maritime treaties, including Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS); Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL); and the Standards for Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). The Ship Registry runs in parallel with the Liberian Corporate Registry, which performs the same functions as the corporate registration service of any other government.

Since its inception, the Liberian Registry has been operated from the United States. This further strengthens the U.S.-Liberia alliance and provides the Registry the ability to participate in the international arena with key industry institutions such as the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Liberian Registry is strong and growing. The dedication and commitment of quality owners bringing in new acquisitions and new construction vessels ensures that this trend will continue.
Benefits of the Liberian Registry

Vessel Construction: The Liberian Registry does not require vessels to be constructed by a particular nation. Shipowners have the freedom to search and solicit shipbuilders solely on commercial considerations, such as competence, experience and price.

Vessel Manning: Manning requirements specified by the Liberian Registry are based exclusively on competence, international recognition and safe operation. Many national registries require manning by citizens of the country of registry. This promotes higher wages, inflated labor costs and overheads, excessive bureaucracy, and the potential for interference from organized labor.

Harmonized Audits: The Liberian Registry is the first and so far the only major open registry to have trained a worldwide network of lead auditors in both the International Safety Management (ISM) and International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Codes.

Verification and Certification Services for MLC 2006 (Maritime Labour Convention) Compliance: Liberia provides full compliance services, including approval of shipowners’ Declaration of Maritime Labor Compliance Part II and vessel certification. Highly competitive block fee arrangements with fleet discounts ensure value for service. Also offered are in-house training for operators and recruitment services and workshops and gap analysis to assist shipowners and operators and expedite verification of the company’s measures for compliance.

Ship Financing: The mortgage-recording regime of the Liberian Registry is internationally recognized and acceptable to banks from many jurisdictions, allowing the best opportunity to obtain the most favorable financing.

Ease of Registration: The pre-registration formalities are user friendly, designed to meet international standards in relation to safety and documentation but not to delay operations. Bareboat registration in and out is permitted and no restraints are placed on a ship wishing to transfer out of the Registry.

Asset Protection / Ownership Flexibility: Unlike many national registers, the Liberian Registry recognizes the need and actively protects the opportunities for asset protection. The Corporate Register of Liberia allows the use of and maintains the integrity of single purpose corporate vehicles. Likewise, the Corporate Register must continue to offer flexible corporate vehicles to ensure that specific ownership options are available to meet the needs of the multitude of shipowning structures.

Tax Sensible Jurisdiction: Vessels in the Liberian Registry are taxed annually with a fixed fee based on the net tonnage of the vessel. Similarly, Liberian Corporations have a fixed annual tax. Taxes on operations and profit are not assessed.

Double Taxation Treaties: Double taxation is avoided in nearly all major shipping business areas due to tax recognition treaties established between Liberia and most countries.

Strategic Agreements: The Liberia/China Agreement on Maritime Transport provides that Liberian flag vessels will be charged the preferential rate for tonnage dues when visiting any port in China. The preferential rate savings equates to a 28% discount for each vessel's tonnage dues.

Acceptable Flag for EU Tonnage Tax Schemes: The Liberian Flag is an acceptable choice for many of the new Tonnage Tax Schemes currently being offered in the EU, including the UK, German and Dutch tax systems.

Depreciation Principles: Ocean shipping requires the use of capital-intensive investments. Due to the varying market conditions and demand for ocean transportation services, many shipowners have difficult years without profit. With recognition of alternative jurisdictions, Liberia offers depreciation alternatives not available with most national registers. This in turn allows flexibility with respect to Profit & Loss reporting.

Vessel Surveys: Liberia has authorized qualifying classification societies to conduct the full range of statutory surveys during attendance for routine classification surveys. Qualifying classification societies are not restricted to a particular national society. This provides cost savings, reduction of bureaucracy and operational/scheduling flexibility for shipowners.

Customer Service: The Liberian Registry is administered by a U.S. owned and operated company and managed by industry professionals who understand the business of shipping. Likewise, significant investments in technology are being made to ensure superior service and convenience. In addition to the Registry’s offices located in major shipping centers, there is also a network of more than 400 nautical inspectors and auditors, who are available to attend vessels when needed.

Safe and Quality Reputation: Year in and year out, the independent statistics of underwriters, Port State Control Authorities, seafarer advocates and salvage institutions all recognize Liberia as having a quality reputation of standards.

Security: The post-9/11 world has brought new responsibilities for commercial shipping and maritime administrations. The Liberian Registry has been on the leading edge of the development and implementation of the IMO’s ISPS Code. Liberia believes in a practical and low-cost approach to ensuring security conscious shipping. A network of approximately 150 security inspectors attends vessels when needed.

Adoption and Enforcement of International Regulations: Participation in the UN bodies of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) is another important factor for respectable ship registries. Liberia is known for its international involvement in ensuring the development of practical new regulations when necessary. Likewise, Liberia ratifies important conventions, enacts domestic legislation in support of safety, pollution prevention and seafarers’ welfare, and ensures equitable enforcement of these scriptures.

Liberian Shipowners’ Council (LSC): Liberia is one of the few open registries with an independent shipowners' council. The LSC provides member shipowners with a venue to monitor and address problems facing the industry and to share and exchange information and ideas. The LSC is also a member of the International Chamber of Shipping, and the International Shipping Federation (the only maritime employer association who can represent shipowners at the International Labour Organization). As such, Liberian Shipowners are able to benefit from the valuable services of this leading industry institution. Link to LSC Brochure

Pricing: The Liberian Registry offers professional service at a competitive price. Savings realized by use of technology are passed back to clients of the Registry.

Company Formation

A ship owning entity should be registered in Liberia at least three (3) days prior to the date of an intended ship’s registration in order to prevent difficulties. Inquiries and requests for instructions and model forms related to the formation of a Liberian ship owning entity or the registration of a Foreign Maritime Entity (“FME”) organized under the laws of a jurisdiction other than Liberia should be directed to the Corporate Department (corporate@liscr.com).

Liberian Corporation
In general, a Liberian ship owning entity can be formed to the specific needs of the client usually on the same working day the Corporate Registry receives instructions. The client may:
• Form a Custom-made Corporation to their specific instructions, generally on the same working day on which we receive the instructions. This service enables clients to have the name, share capital, number of directors and type of articles which exactly match the client's wishes and needs; or
• Form a standard Corporation from a list of names that is made available and then choose the type of Articles of Incorporation, the type of Shares, and the number of Directors, by completing an order form. The corporate documents will be prepared and issued with the date on which the Corporate Department receives instructions for formation of the corporation; or
• Purchase an Aged Corporation with an earlier incorporation date. The client would need to specify the earliest and latest dates that are acceptable and let the Corporate Department know the type of Articles of Incorporation, the type of Shares, (bearer and/or registered, no par/par value), and the number of Directors. The Registry will then provide a list of available corporation that meets the provided specifications that the client can then choose to purchase.

Registration of a Foreign Maritime Entity
The option of registering a non-Liberian entity (FME) as the owner of the vessel is also available. The non-Liberian entity remains as the owner of the ship, but once the FME is registered, the application to register the ship under the Liberian Flag is made by the FME. The application for registration as an FME will be filed and will become effective within one (1) day from the date that the duly executed application form, together with the documents required in support of the application and the registration fee are received at the Corporate Department’s office in Vienna, Virginia, USA.

List of Requirements to register an FME:
• One (1) legalized original Application Form;
• One (1) full, officially certified copy of the document upon which the existence of the non-Liberian entity is based must be annexed to the Application Form;
• One (1) original current and legalized Certificate of Goodstanding must be submitted; and
• Payment of the FME Registration Fee.

Taxation

There are no assessed corporate or individual taxes in Liberia applicable to nonresident corporations including ship owning companies, provided that not more than 25% of the shareholders are residents of Liberia and the company does not carry on operations in Liberia.

Registration and Documentation

The Liberian Registry is open to any ship owner in the world. In order to enter the Liberian registry a vessel must be less than 20 years of age and must meet high safety standards. The owner can register a vessel in Liberia while under construction, or immediately upon delivery of the vessel by the builder, or transfer a vessel to Liberia while trading or under repair or in lay-up. Registration can be performed while at port, yard, anchorage or at sea.
An applicant is encouraged to visit the Flag Administration’s website for a full list of registration packages containing lists of specific registration requirements, guidelines and applicable forms.
Ship registration can usually be completed in one (1) day. Three (3) to four (4) business days are typically required to safely deliver original ship registration certificates to any location in the world. In general, the time required to register a ship under the Liberian Flag is dependant on the completion of the registration documents by the ship owner and their transmission to the Liberian Registry. As soon as a draft application for registration is e-mailed or faxed to the Liberian Registry’s Registration Department in New York (registration@liscr.com), undated ship certificates can be pre-positioned with one of Liberia’s nautical inspectors in the port where flag change is scheduled to take place.
Vessel Registration

List of Requirements: Forms required in order to register a vessel in Liberia may be obtained from any office or from the Flag Administration’s website (Registration Packages)
• Application for Registration (Form RLM-101A)
• Evidence of Authority (i.e. Original Power of Attorney or Corporate Resolutions)
• Proof of Ownership (i.e. Bill of Sale; Builder’s Certificate)
• Class Documents: Confirmation of Class and Statement or Affidavit from Class Society
• Survey Report: if vessel is fifteen (15) years of age or older
• Proof Vessel is Free of Recorded Liens: if vessel is transferring from another flag
• Consent to Transfer and/or Deletion Certificate: from the vessel’s current registry
• Proof of Liability Insurance
• Application for Minimum Safe Manning Certification
• International Safety Management (ISM) Code Declaration Forms
• Continuous Synopsis Record (CSR) Declaration
• Application for Waiver of Ownership: if the owner of a vessel is registered as an FME
• Application for Waiver of Age: if the vessel registered is over twenty (20) years of age but it has been accepted for registration under the Liberian Flag
• Application for Waiver of Tonnage: if the vessel registered is less than 500 net tons but it has been accepted for registration under the Liberian Flag
• BCLC Blue Card: required for all vessels over 1000 gross tons
• CLC Blue Card: required for vessels carrying more than 2000 tons of oil in bulk as cargo
• Application for Ship Radio Station License
• Application for INMARSAT Equipment
• Interim Ship Security Certificate (ISSC): a Ship Security Assessment and Ship Security Plan must be submitted to the Flag Administration’s Security Department located in Vienna, VA office preceding the Interim Security Verification
• Oath of Owner
• Payment of Fees

Bareboat Charter Registration

Bareboat Charter Registration permits a ship to temporarily fly and operate under the supervision of the Liberian flag while the ownership and mortgage continues to be registered in a foreign jurisdiction. Bareboat Charter Registration is only available where the laws of both states involved explicitly recognize that the law of the State of the underlying registry is exclusively applicable to mortgages and related instruments recorded therein. In such a case, the ship is issued a Certificate of Registry which is valid for the period of the Bareboat Charter Party filed with the Office of the Deputy Commissioner of Maritime Affairs or for two years, whichever is less. While the Certificate of Registry is valid for a term not exceeding two (2) years, it may be reissued upon application for successive periods of not more than two (2) years.

Foreign Bareboat Charter Registration:

Foreign Bareboat Charter Registration permits a ship to temporarily fly and operate under the supervision of the flag of a foreign jurisdiction while the ownership and mortgage continues to be registered in Liberia.

The ship is issued an endorsed Provisional Certificate of Registry which shows that it has been Bareboat Charter Registered in another jurisdiction under the conditions of the Bareboat Charter filed with the Office of the Deputy Commissioner of Maritime Affairs. Thus, the endorsed Provisional Certificate does not grant the vessel the right to fly or operate under the supervision of the Liberian Flag. While the Provisional Certificate of Registry is valid for a term not exceeding two (2) years, it may be reissued upon application for successive periods, each of not more than two (2) years. Moreover, a Certificate of Permission for Foreign Bareboat Charter Registration is also issued when all requirements have been met.

Vessel and Yacht Eligibility & Survey Requirements

Vessel Tonnage
Seagoing vessels of more than 500 net tons, engaged in foreign trade are eligible for registration in Liberia. Measurement of vessels shall be in accordance with the International Convention on Measurement of Ships currently in force, as amended.

Vessel Age
Vessels should be not more than 20 years of age at the time of registration, computed from completion of first construction, on January 1 of the year in which initial registration or re-registration is sought. However, vessels older than twenty (20) years may be granted a waiver for registration on application by owner if approved by the Marine Operations and Standards Department based on consideration of the vessel’s material condition, history of port state control, and industry inspection records and other criteria determined on case by case basis.

Vessel Classification
Current classification of a vessel in accordance to approved seaworthiness standards and documents requested by the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the International Conventions for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships to which the Republic of Liberia is a party shall be accepted as evidence the vessel is in seaworthy condition.

All vessels are required to be classed by a Classification Society that is a member of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS). The following Classification Societies are currently approved for the issuance of International Convention Statutory Certificates on behalf of the Administration:
• American Bureau of Shipping (ABS)
• Bureau Veritas (BV)
• China Classification Society (CS)
• Croatian Register of Shipping (CRS)
• DNV
• Korean Register of Shipping (KRS)
• Lloyd’s Register of Shipping (LR)
• Maritime Register of Shipping (MRS)
• Nippon Kaijai Kyokai (NKK)
• Registro Italiano Navale (RINA)

Additionally, the Liberian Registry has a worldwide network of Safety and Security auditors specially trained and able to offer Liberia’s unique Harmonized ISM and ISPS Code Certifications.

Crewing

The Liberian Maritime Law does not require any particular nationality for manning Liberian flag vessels. Crew can be of different nationalities and this flexibility allows the ship owner to acquire qualified crew from anywhere in the world.

Basic manning standards for the safe operation of the vessel are determined by the Office of the Deputy Commissioner, based on the type and size of the vessel. Certificates of Competency are issued by the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner of Maritime Affairs, and temporary waivers may be authorized by the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner in certain instances. All officers serving onboard Liberian ships must hold Liberian Licenses of Competence in accordance with STCW as amended. Licenses and Seaman's Identification and Record Books are issued from LISCR's Vienna, Virginia office. All seafarers must have a Liberian Seaman's Identification and Record Book, which serves as a record of sea service and qualification. An examination system is also available as part of Liberian Registry's competency assessment for seafarers that do not possess national certifications from an IMO "White-listed" country.

Mortgages

A Liberian preferred ship mortgage may, among other rights, secure debts owed to a party (including a corporation) other than the vessel owner; contingent obligations; future advances and debts; a pledge or assignment of monies or rights, either presently owing or to become due in future, including but not limited to hire, insurance and freights; revolving credit facilities, including multiple advances and repayments; amounts denominated in one or more currencies, as well as options to fund mortgage payments in one or more alternate currencies; and currency losses arising from fluctuations between designated currencies where a unit of account is altered.

Recordation gives notice to creditors, purchasers, suppliers and other parties with an interest in such transactions, and furnishes an internationally enforceable structure for the protection of those legal rights recorded with respect to a vessel of the Republic of Liberia. Preferred status gives priority to the lender's mortgage lien over those of certain other claimants.

Fees

The Liberian International Ship Corporate Registry's web page has a convenient calculator that provides information about the cost to register a ship in Liberia. It is accessible at
http://www.liscr.com/annual-fee-calculator

Contact

Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry
22980 Indian Creek Drive
Dulles, VA 20166 USA
Tel: +1 (703) 790-3434
Fax: +1 (703) 790-5655
After Hours: +1 (703) 963-6216
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, please contact the LISCR Duty Officer at:
Phone: +1 (703) 963-6216
Emergency Email: DutyOfficer@liscr.com
If the Duty Officer is not available or does not return your call in 15 minutes:
Please call: +1 (757) 278-0001

Mr. Alfonso Castillero
Chief Operating Officer
Email: acastillero@liscr.com

Ms. Christine Doherty
Chief Financial and Administrative Officer

Mr. Benson Peretti
Executive Vice President, Global Services
Email: benson.peretti@liscr.com

Greg Maj
Chief Registrar
Email: registration@liscr.com

Mr. Reynaldo Garibaldi
Executive Vice President, Maritime Operations
Email: Rgaribaldi@liscr.com

Mr. Thomas Klenum
Executive Vice President, Innovation and Regulatory Affairs
Email: tklenum@liscr.com

Twitter: @LISCR_LLC
Facebook: facebook.com/liberianshipregistry
Please visit the Liberian Registry's website (www.liscr.com) for contact information for our offices in New York, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Leer, London, Piraeus, Tokyo, Zurich, and Monrovia.

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 Liberia

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
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
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 x
PAL Convention 74 x
PAL Protocol 76 x
PAL Protocol 90
PAL Protocol 02
LLMC Convention 76 x
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 x
HNS PROT 2010
OPRC/HNS 2000 x
BUNKERS CONVENTION 01 x
ANTI FOULING 2001 x
BALLASTWATER 2004 x
NAIROBI WRC 2007 x
HONG KONG CONVENTION

x= ratification
d=denunciation

Subscribe to Newsletter

Stay up-to date with the latest news and updates

Thanks for submitting!

Company Info

Social

  • Facebook
  • Twitter