OFFICIAL GUIDE TO SHIP & YACHT REGISTRIES

Malta

Shipowner Eligibility 

A vessel registered under the flag of Malta does not experience any restrictions on ownership due to nationality of the owners. Thus Malta flagged vessels may be owned by;
Citizens of Malta

Bodies corporate established under and subject to the laws of Malta having their principal place of business in Malta or having their principal place of business in Malta and satisfying the Minister responsible for shipping (hereinafter referred to as the "Minister") that they can and will ensure due observance of the laws of Malta relating to merchant shipping (hereinafter referred to as "Shipping Organisations")

A foreign corporate body or other entity which enjoys to the satisfaction of the Registrar-General (hereinafter referred to as the "Registrar") legal personality in terms of the law under which it has been established or constituted and which has satisfied the Registrar that it can and will ensure due observance of the laws of Malta relating to merchant shipping.

About the Flag

Building on its long and varied maritime tradition, Malta, a member of the European Union, has today established itself as one of the leading maritime hubs and service centres in the Mediterranean region. Placed to become an international centre of excellence in the maritime industry, the Island offers a whole range of international maritime services and facilities as part of a comprehensive package for the maritime industry.

Maritime Malta has also developed a very strong legal and regulatory platform that has enabled the Malta flag to become a reputable international ship register which is now established as one of the largest in the world.

Vessel registration under the Malta flag and the operation of Maltese ships is regulated by the Merchant Shipping Act of 1973, a law based in the main on United Kingdom legislation but subsequently revised and amended in 1986, 1988, 1990, 2000 and 2010. The main legislation is supplemented by a comprehensive set of rules and regulations.

The Malta Flag formally came into existence as an ‘open’ register in 1973 with the promulgation of the Merchant Shipping Act, Chapter 234 of the Laws of Malta. It has experienced significant and constant growth since inception and has now established itself amongst the largest registries in the world in terms of tonnage. The phasing out of single hull tankers has significantly lowered the average age of the fleet and Malta’s accession to the European Union in 2004 has gone a long way in adding its attraction to operators and charterers alike. The administration of the Malta Registry of Shipping and Seamen is now, more than ever, giving increasing and fundamental importance to safety of life at sea and the prevention of pollution as well as compliance with international maritime conventions.

The Malta Registry of Shipping and Seamen (the “Registry”) is administered by the Merchant Shipping Directorate of the Authority for Transport in Malta.

The Merchant Shipping Act provides that the homeport of every Maltese vessel shall be VALLETTA. Furthermore, the flag set out hereunder is the proper maritime flag for all Maltese vessels. It consists of a red field bordered in white, with a Maltese Cross at its centre.

It is important that the owners and masters of Malta Flag vessels ensure that the homeport VALLETTA is marked on and the national colours hoisted on board Maltese vessels.

Advantages to Shipowners using Malta Fla
• European Flag with a long maritime tradition.
• 24 hour, 7 days a week service
• Reputable and internationally recognised ship Register.
• No exchange control authorisations are required for the purpose of incorporating or operating a shipping company insofar as 80% or more of the shares are owned by non-residents; this also applies to the taking of security for loans or other facilities over Maltese-registered vessels owned by companies registered locally;
• Ships may be registered in the name of legally constituted corporate bodies or entities irrespective of nationality, or by a European Union citizen.
• On the White List of the Paris MoU and Tokyo MoU and on the Low Risk Ship List of the Paris MoU.
• No nationality restrictions for master, officers and crew.
• No trading restrictions and preferential treatment to Maltese ships in certain ports.
• No hidden costs and no inspection fees.
• Customer service oriented approach that values long term customer relationships.
• Well-organised and highly responsive flag Administration with one of the largest registers in the world and very active in European Union fora and international organisations.
• Maltese requirements well known to main shipyards and main classification societies.
• Marriages can be officiated onboard Maltese ships.
• A clear strategic political vision supporting business and the maritime industry.
• Availability of a whole range of maritime services including very reputable and experienced legal and corporate services supporting registration, management and administration.
• Backed up by a professional shipping registry that values long term customer relationships.

Company Formation

The Maltese ‘Shipping Organisation’
If the ship owner should wish to register under the flag of Malta as a Maltese Shipping Organisation the following basic requirements would need to be fulfilled:
• Proposed name/s of company. The word "Limited" is always inserted at the end of the chosen name. It is useful to provide additional alternative names (in order of preference);
• Name, address, nationality, passport number/date and place of issue and date and place of birth of each shareholder (a minimum of one). In the case of bodies corporate, the name, registered office address, date and place of incorporation and registration number;
• Number of shares to be held by each (out of standard 500 shares of Euro 2.329373 each) NOTE: the share capital of a Shipping Organisation may be denominated in any currency which is a convertible currency.
• Name and all particulars as at (b) above of the director/s (a minimum of one); and
• Any special instructions on company structure, voting rights etc.

International Ownership
Should ship owners wish to opt for international ownership of a Malta flagged vessel the following conditions would have to be fulfilled;
• If ownership is by a foreign corporate body / legal entity:
• Original Memorandum & Articles of Associate / Articles of Incorporation (or certified true copies attached to the legal opinion on the contents of the Memorandum and/or Articles);
• Good Standing Certificate
• Original Declaration of Appointment of a Resident Agent in Malta, duly notarised & apostilled
• Powers of attorney (if and when required)
• Legal Opinion, duly notarised and apostilled, confirming that the corporate records of the corporate body/ entity have been examined and giving the details of the directors and holders of office and of persons authorised to represent the corporate body / entity and to bind it with their signature and to appoint a Resident Agent.
• Memorandum & Articles / copy of ID Card of the Maltese Resident Agent;
• Good Standing Certificate of the Maltese Resident Agent (if applicable); and
• Acceptance of appointment by Maltese Resident Agent
• If ownership is by citizens of a Member State of the European Union
• Certified true copy of passport
• Original Declaration of Appointment of Resident Agent in Malta, duly notarised and apostilled
• Memorandum & Articles / copy of ID Card of Maltese Resident Agent
• Good Standing Certificate of Maltese Resident Agent
• Acceptance of appointment by Maltese Resident Agent

Note: A Shipping Organisation may also operate under a trust or be a foundation.
If a ship owner were to opt for the establishment of a Maltese Shipping Organisation, a local brass-plate company is sufficient and no closer genuine connection is required.

Resident Agent
An international owner, prior to registering a Malta flagged vessel must appoint in writing a resident agent who is habitually resident in Malta, and;
• is not interdicted or incapacitated or is an undischarged bankrupt;
• has not been convicted of any of the crimes affecting public trust or of theft or fraud or of knowingly receiving property obtained by theft or fraud; and
• has satisfied the Registrar to be a person capable of carrying out the functions of a Resident Agent.

A Maltese Body Corporate may also act as Resident Agent. International owners must ensure that they have a validly appointed Resident Agent at all times. In fact, removal or resignation of the Resident Agent must be accompanied by the giving of at least fifteen days notice in writing to the Registrar and to any registered mortgagee.

There are no restrictions on the basis of nationality with regards to shareholdings in Shipping Organisations.

Taxation

Companies exclusively owning and operating an exempt vessel are not subject to income tax. No exchange control permission or external transaction clearance is necessary to incorporate Shipping Organisations for the purpose of owning or operating Malta flag vessels, insofar as no less than 80% of the shareholding is held by nonresidents.

International Trading Companies and International Holding companies benefit from specific and advantageous tax incentives.

Malta has negotiated a number of double taxation agreements with: Albania, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Jordan, Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Montenegro, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America.

Registration and Documentation

Ships intending to fly the Maltese flag must be registered in the Registry of Ships at the Merchant Shipping Directorate, Malta.

Registration takes place in 2 stages. The vessel is first provisionally registered and upon satisfaction of certain requirements it is registered ‘permanently’.

Provisional Registration
The following is a list of the principal requirements for provisionally registering a vessel in Malta:
• An Application for the Registration of a Vessel under the Malta Flag, giving the vessel’s descriptive details including;
• Present name, and if a change of name is intended, the proposed name ( a name may be reserved beforehand)
• Propulsion (steam or motor)
• Service (dry cargo, tanker, pleasure yacht etc.)
• Has the vessel ever been registered in Malta?
• Country under laws of which the ship was last documented
• Classification society
• Proposed date of registry
• Port where ship will be at time of registry
• Number of seamen and apprentices for whom accomodation is certified
• Gross tonnage
• Net tonnage
• Length (meters)
• Breadth (meters)
• Depth (meters)
• Description of stem and stern
• Framework
• Number of decks
• Number of masts
• Number of bulkheads
• Where and when built
• Full name and full address of builders
• Number, type and description of engines
• Number of cylinders
• Power of Engines
• Full name and full address of engine makers and
• Name and office address of ship’s manager (including telephone, telex and fax numbers)
• Valid Maltese Endorsements of Certificates of Competency of the master and officers to serve on board (if available). Alternatively, as a minimum, there should be, for each officer, an acknowledgement issued by the Malta Administration of receipt of the relative application accompanied by certified copies of the seaman’s passport, medical certificate, certificate of competency and relative endorsements under the Convention, one coloured photograph and the relative funds;
• An Application for the issuance of a Minimum Safe Manning Certificate in respect of a Malta-flagged vessel;
• A copy of the current International Tonnage Certificate 1969 as issued under the authority of the flag prior to the Malta flag);
• Confirmation from the vessel’s Classification Society indicating, the current name and Class I.D. No; the IMO Number; the Class notation (i.e. bulk carrier, oil tanker, chemical tanker or passenger vessel, etc.) held by the vessel; the validity dates of all the statutory (Load Line, SOLAS and MARPOL) certificates held by the vessel; and a clear specification of any exemptions and/or conditions granted to the said statutory certificates; if no exemptions and/or conditions have been granted under the current flag jurisdiction, this must be clearly indicated by Classification Society;
• In the case of vessels intended to carry 1,000 tons of oil or more as cargo, a copy of the Blue Card issued by the relevant P & I Club to permit issuance of CLC Certificate;
• For the Provisional Ship Radio Station Licence, the AAIC number of the Accounting Authority entrusted with the handling of radio traffic accounts;
• Funds for payment of registration fees and other ancillary fees and charges; and
• Confirmation that legal title of the vessel has passed to the owner free from encumbrances (or otherwise); a faxed copy of the Bill of Sale from the last registered owner to the present owner and a fax copy of the Transcript or Extract of Register from the out-going flag administration would normally suffice for this purpose.

NOTE: With regards to the Declaration of Ownership, such Declaration is usually signed by an authorised representative in Malta at the Registry of Ships in the presence of a Registry official.

Permanent Registration
In order to qualify for ‘permanent’ registration status, the following requirements must be satisfied: Within one month of provisional registration, renewable for good reason by another one month, the following documents must be presented:
• The Deletion Certificate (original) from the previous Register, translated into the English Language as necessary; and
• The (original) Bill or Bills of Sale transferring legal title of ownership from the last registered owner appearing on the previous Register to the current owner; and
• The vessel’s Carving and Marking Note, duly endorsed as required.

Within six months of provisional registration, renewable for good reason for an aggregate of another six months, the following documents must be presented:
• A Radio Licence Application Form, duly completed with all the descriptive particulars of the equipment installed on board, together with a copy of the current valid Safety Radio Certificate and accompanying Form R as issued to the vessel by its Classification Society and an EPIRB test report; and
• A certified copy of the International Tonnage Certificate as issued to the vessel in terms of the 1969 Convention on behalf of the Government of Malta and an original Certificate of Survey issued in respect of the vessel in terms of Section 14 of the Merchant Shipping Act; and
• Confirmation by Classification Society of the validity of the statutory certificates as issued to the vessel on behalf of the Government of Malta; and
• The owners’ or technical managers’ undertaking to return the Provisional Certificate of Malta Registry to the Registrar as soon as possible, and, in any case, within thirty days of receipt of the Permanent Certificate.

A Permanent Certificate of Malta Registry is not quite what it implies: it is only valid for one year and is renewable annually on payment of the relative tonnage tax.

Transfers of Ownership
A registered ship or a share therein may be transferred by a bill of sale. The bill of sale shall contain such description of the ship as is contained in the surveyor’s certificate or some other description sufficient to identify the ship to the satisfaction of the Registrar, and shall be executed by the transferor in the presence of, and attested by, a witness or witnesses.
For this purpose corporate authorities of both sellers and buyers will have to be produced to the Registrar. It is usual for sellers to appoint a representative to sign, execute and deliver a bill of sale on the basis of a power of attorney issued for that purpose.
The transferee shall not be entitled to be registered as owner thereof until he, or in the case of a body corporate, the person authorised to make declarations on behalf of that body corporate, has made a declaration referring to the ship and containing
• A statement of qualification of the transferee to own a Maltese ship, or if a body corporate of such circumstances as prove it to be qualified to own a Maltese ship; and
• A declaration that, to the best of his knowledge and belief, no unqualified person or body of persons is entitled as owner to any interest in the ship or share therein.

Transfer of the vessel does not affect the validity of any mortgage security attaching to it though it is clear that an unauthorised transfer usually constitutes an event of default in terms of the security documentation.

If in the mortgage, the mortgagee prohibited the mortgagor from transferring the vessel to third parties without his express consent, the Registrar is bound not to register the transfer (except in the case of a court-ordered sale).

Upon entry of a transfer of a registered ship or a share therein in favour of a person qualified to own a Maltese ship the Registrar shall notify accordingly the holder of any registered mortgage.

The vessel’s official number and call sign remain the same. The only changes entered on the vessel’s register are the name and address of the new owner. If the permanent registration procedure was at the time of the registration of the transfer still incomplete, the new owners would have to satisfy the outstanding requirements.

The new owners are also bound to apply for a new radio licence by the completion of the relative survey form, regardless of the fact that a licence may still be current and valid.

Where a transfer of ownership involves also a change of technical management the ISM Code and ISPS Code Certification would also be affected. A new CSR would have to be issued to reflect the changes.

Deletion from the Malta Flag
Voluntary Closure of Registry
Where the owner of a Maltese ship desires to close the register of a ship he shall make an application to that effect to the Registrar giving all such particulars and information as the Registrar may require for the purpose including the reason for closure and the new registry of the ship.

The Registrar may refuse such application if all liabilities and obligations in respect of the ship towards the Government of Malta and any body corporate established by law, whether for fees, charges, fines or otherwise have not been paid, and shall refuse such application unless the consent in writing of all mortgagees whose mortgage is duly registered in respect of the ship is produced to him.

Where any such application is acceded to, the Registrar shall make an entry thereof in the register and thereupon the ship shall cease to be a Maltese ship and the registry of the ship shall be considered as closed except so far as relates to any unsatisfied mortgages or privileges entered therein.

A Deletion Certificate and a ‘closed’ CSR are only issued upon surrender of all certificates of Registry to the Registrar.

Closure of registry on sale of ship pursuant to court sale or sale by mortgagee in possession
The register will be closed when the purchaser of a ship pursuant to a court sale or to a sale by a mortgagee in possession is not a person who is qualified to own a Maltese ship.

Compulsory closure of registry
Registration of a ship onto Malta’s register will/may be terminated or revoked in the following circumstances
• Where the Minister has ordered such closure in the national interest or in the interest of Maltese shipping
• Where the Registrar has directed such closure if;
• The annual fees have not been duly paid in accordance with the Merchant Shipping Act
• The formalities in relation to the documents and evidence after provisional registration are not complied with within the maximum periods therein specified;
• In the event of a registered ship being either actually or constructively lost, taken by the enemy, burnt or broken up, or ceasing, whether by reason of a transfer to persons not qualified to own a Maltese ship or for any other reason, to be a Maltese ship;
• The owner fails to observe the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act
• It is established that the ship will not or cannot be registered under the Merchant Shipping Act
• Where required, any conditions established by the Minister are not observed for a period in excess of a month;
• The owner fails to pay any fine imposed under the Merchant Shipping Act, or fails to pay any penalty within one month of their being demanded in writing by the Registrar; or
• The owner fails to be in possession of a valid certificate of registry, whether provisional or otherwise, for a period in excess of a month.
The Registrar shall give one month’s notice in writing to the registered owner and any registered mortgagee of the intention of closure of registry unless the cause of such closure is remedied. The reason for closure and the expiry date for compliance will be specified in such notice.
The documents required to effect deletion are the following:
• A written application to the Registrar informing him of the nationality of the buyers and requesting closure of the register.

NOTE: a deletion certificate is issued by the Registrar only if the original certificates issued in respect of the previously Malta flagged vessel at the time the vessel was so flagged are all returned.
A “Deletion” Continuous Synopsis Record will also be issued.

An original request is required and the all original Provisional and Permanent Certificates of Registry issued by the Malta Registry of Ships are required (Renewals of the Certificate of Registry are not required).

If the application is signed by the Maltese representatives of the Shipping Organisation which owns the vessel, the Power of Attorney empowering the representatives to sign such application must be duly witnessed by an attorney and the attorney’s signature must then be certified by an Honorary Consul of Malta. Alternatively, such Power of Attorney may be notarised and apostilled.

Bareboat Charter Registration

Maltese law provides both for the bareboat charter registration of foreign ships under the Malta flag and also for the bareboat charter registration of Maltese ships under a foreign flag. Ships bareboat charter registered in Malta enjoy the same rights and privileges, and have the same obligations, as any other ship registered in Malta.
The requirements for bareboat charter registration include:
• The bareboat charter is to be made to a citizen of Malta, or a Company established in Malta
• The non-Maltese ship must be registered in a compatible registry
• The ship must not already be registered in another bareboat charter registry
• The ship must not be registered in accordance with the requirements of Maltese law

For the registration of the bareboat charter with the Maltese Registry the following documents need to be procured:
• Application for registration by the charterer or an authorised representative
• Declaration of bareboat charter accompanied by the charter agreement
• A transcript of the underlying registry
• A copy of the International Tonnage Certificate The consent in writing of the underlying registry, owners and mortgagees (if any)

Registration fees and annual tonnage tax for bareboat charter registration are the same as those applicable for a vessel under the Malta flag.
The duration of bareboat charter registration shall be for a period not exceeding the duration of the bareboat charter or the expiry date of the underlying registration, whichever is the shorter period, but in no case for a period exceeding two years.

The Registrar may, at the request of the charterer or his authorised agent, extend and further extend the registration for the remaining period of the charter or until the expiry date of the underlying registry, whichever is the shorter period, but in no case for a period exceeding two years at a time, provided he has not received any objections to this extension from the appropriate authorities of the underlying registry, the owners and the registered mortgagees, if any, within seven days from the Registrar having informed them of such request for extension.

Termination of Bareboat Charter Registration
Bareboat charter registration of a ship onto Malta’s register will/may be terminated or revoked in the following circumstances
• Where the Minister has ordered such closure in the national interest or in the interest of Maltese shipping
• Where the Registrar has directed such closure if;
• The annual fees have not been duly paid in accordance with the Merchant shipping Act the formalities in relation to the documents and evidence after provisional registration are not complied with within the maximum periods therein specified;
• In the event of a registered ship being either actually or constructively lost, taken by the enemy, burnt or broken up, or ceasing, whether by reason of a transfer to persons not qualified to own a Maltese ship or for any other reason, to be a Maltese ship;
• The owner fails to observe the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act it is established that the ship will not or cannot be registered under the Merchant Shipping Act where required, any conditions established by the Minister are not observed for a period in excess of a month;
• The owner fails to pay any fine imposed under the Merchant Shipping Act, or fails to pay any penalty within one month of their being demanded in writing by the Registrar;
• or the owner fails to be in possession of a valid certificate of registry, whether provisional or otherwise, for a period in excess of a month.
• A voluntary closure of registry has been requested and such request has been acceded to by the Registrar
• The appropriate authorities of the underlying registry, or the owners, or any of the mortgages, if any, have withdrawn their consent to the bareboat charter registration in Malta;
• The registration in the underlying registry has for any reason been terminated
• The charter lapses or is terminated by any of the parties to it: or
• The period for which the ship has been bareboat charter registered lapses and no extension has been granted.

For information regarding registries that have bareboat charter arrangements with Malta, please contact the registry.

Vessel and Yacht Eligibility & Survey Requirements

The Directorate has introduced the following compulsory provisions:
• As a rule, trading vessels of 25 years and over will not be registered while applications for the registration of trading vessels of less than 25 years will be considered subject to:
• the vessel being either in class or in the process of being classed with a recognised classification society
• the receipt of an up to date class survey status report or information on the validity of the current statutory certificates including details of any existing exemptions and/or conditions, relating to both class and statutory certificates.
• Registration of trading vessels of 20 years and over but less than 25 years will also be subject to the outcome of a prior inspection by an authorised flag state inspector; the Directorate may require the inspection to be carried out in dry-dock; where the Directorate allows the inspection to be carried out on registration, only a non-operational Provisional Certificate of Registry will be issued;
• Vessels of 15 years and over but less than 20 years shall also be presented for an inspection by an authorised flag state inspector within one moth of registration; owners may opt to have their vessel inspected prior to registration;
• A negative outcome of an inspection of a registered vessel may lead to the immediate closure of the vessel’s register.
The fee for pre-registration inspections, even when allowed to be carried out on registration shall be:
• €1,500 on non-propelled barges and on merchant ships falling under category A.i (v) as provided in the First Schedule (Registration Fees) of the Merchant Shipping Act;
• €3,000 on merchant ships of 500 gross tons and over, owned by companies who already operate more than 5 ships under the Malta flag;
• €5,000 on merchant ships of 500 gross tons and over.
NOTE: In terms of the ISPS Code, each Malta flagged vessel needs to be issued with a Continuous Synopsis Record (“CSR”). The Code permits vessels transferring flag up to three months in which to obtain a new CSR from the new flag state, provided the master filed in the temporary CSR Form No 2 in the interim.

To obtain the CSR from the Malta administration, the operator must:
• File a copy of a valid International Ship Security Certificate issued by a Classification Society under the authority of the Malta Administration;
• Ensure that a copy of the full CSR File are faxed to the Malta Administration by the authorities of the previous flag.

Classification Societies
The recognised Classification Societies authorised to issue statutory certificates on behalf of the Government of Malta are the following;
• American Bureau of Shipping
• Bureau Veritas
• China Classification Society
• Class NK
• DNV
• Korean Register of Shipping
• Lloyd’s Register of Shipping
• Polish Register of Shipping
• RINA
• Russian Maritime Register of Shipping

Crewing

Malta has acceded to IMO Convention STCW 1978. Maltese ships are subject to the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act and ancillary regulations concerning the competency of officers and seamen.
There are no restrictions imposed on the nationality of the master, officers and crew engaged on Maltese Ships.

A Valid Minimum Safe Manning Certificate must be carried by all Maltese merchant ships of 500 gross tonnage and over. On the entry of a ship in the Malta register, the Merchant Shipping Directorate will issue a Minimum Safe Manning Certificate valid for five years from the date of provisional registration.
Thereafter, prior to the expiry of the certificate or upon any change in the equipment, construction or trading of the ship, the Directorate will issue a new certificate again valid for five years to coincide with the date of the renewal of the certificate of registry.

Certification
Certificates of competency are issued on examination. Foreign certificates issued in terms of the 1978 STCW Convention, require an endorsement issued by the Maltese Administration attesting their recognition.

Conditions and Employment
A contract of employment in the form of a crew agreement must be made between the master and seamen.

A crew agreement must contain the following details:
• Personal details of each member of the crew;
• The time at which each seafarer is to be onboard or to begin work
• The capacity in which each seafarer is to serve;
• The amount of wages for each seafarer;
• Agreed leave
• Disciplinary provisions.
• A list of persons under the age of 18 years and their birth dates

In Maltese ports, the terms of the agreement (including records of engagement and discharge of seafarers) preferably are to be endorsed by a Maltese shipping officer and, in foreign ports, by a Maltese Consular Officer. An agreement can be made for a single voyage or, if the voyage is less than one year, it may be extended over two or more voyages.

Manning Onboard Maltese Ships

Deck Dept
Gross Tonnage Under 500 500 – 999 1000 – 1599 1600 – 2999 3000 – 4999 5000 – 14999 15000 & Over
Master 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Chief Officer 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
OOW - Nav - 1* 1* 1 1 2 2
* In restricted trade, one OOW Nav may be omitted
Deck Rating 2 2 3 3 4 5 6

Note: At least two Deck Officers must be holders of a recognised GMDSS (GOC), or otherwise vessel must carry a dedicated Radio Officer, holder of a least a recognised GMDSS General Operators’s Certificate (GOC).

Engine Dept
Kilowatts 350 - 750 751-1500 1501 - 3000 3001 - 7450 7451 – 11200 11201 & Over
Chief Engineer 1 1 1 1 1 1
Second Engineer 1* 1* 1 1 1 1
* On ships with a UMS Certificate, one Second Engineer may be omitted
OOW - Engine - - 1* 1* 1* 2*
* On ships with UMS Certificate, one OOW – Engine may be omitted
Engine Rating 1 1 2* 3* 3* 3*
* On ships with UMS Certificate, one Engine Rating may be omitted

NB: On tankers of 1000 GT and over, an extra Engine Rating is required.

Mortgages

Maltese law on ship mortgages is modelled closely on the U.K. Merchant Shipping Acts, and consequently practitioners in Anglo-Saxon jurisdictions find much common ground, especially as far as enforcement remedies are concerned.

Recent amendments have given effect to certain changes which the experience of a number of years has prompted while others have further streamlined existing legislation. Practically all the leading international ship finance banks and credit institutions have utilised Maltese mortgage security at some time or another while a significant proportion does so on a regular and consistent basis.

Advantages to Financiers
Mortgages constitute executive titles and may be enforced immediately upon default without the need for a prior court judgement or order to that effect;
• Claims secured by a mortgage enjoy a relatively high ranking;
• Vessels may not be deleted from the Register by the owner without the mortgagee’s prior written consent;
• A vessel may not be struck off its Register by the competent authorities without at least one month’s notice being given to the mortgagee by the Registrar-General of Shipping and Seamen; in the event that the vessel is deleted in these circumstances, this is done save for any registered encumbrances and consequently the mortgage continues to attach to the vessel;
• Independently from the mortgagee’s rights to take possession of and sell the vessel secured by the mortgage upon default, the mortgagee is also empowered to take over and complete vessel registration formalities,
• Further mortgages or transfers of vessels without the prior written consent of the mortgagee may be prohibited by a specific clause in the mortgage instrument;
• The mortgage attaches to the insurance proceeds and to the proceeds from indemnities for mishaps;
• Once a mortgage is registered, special privileges or liens not previously recorded on appurtenances or accessories of a vessel do not affect the mortgagee’s position;
• A mortgage may be registered in favour of a security trustee acting on behalf of a person or a syndicate to whom a debt or other obligation is due;
• A registered mortgagee may register the assignment of part of a debt or other obligation secured by a registered mortgage.

Security Over Ships/Yachts
Under Maltese Law, a ship may constitute security for a debt or other obligation either by agreement or by operation of the law:
• By means of a mortgage which is a special charge over a vessel
• By a general hypothec which attaches to all the assets of a debtor including any vessel such debtor may own
• A special privilege upon the vessel (these arise in virtue of law and no debt or other obligations other than those specified at law shall be secured by a special privilege.

Hereunder please find an analysis on the law in Malta relating to Mortgage registration:
Forms and Contents
• The Merchant Shipping Act provides for a statutory form of mortgage. There is only one form which has to be used for all types of mortgages whether principal and interest or account current.
• The mortgage must be in English or in Maltese.
• The mortgagor is usually a company and so the person signing must have authority to do so by virtue of the memorandum and articles of the company or by virtue of resolutions of the board of directors or by virtue of a power of attorney issued in pursuance to the resolutions or the memorandum. The mortgagor must execute the mortgage in the presence of a named witness.
• Board resolutions and powers of attorney should be notarised and should also be legalised by apostille. Where this is not possible, the Registrar may accept lawyers as witnesses to signature, identity and authority and Honorary Consuls of Malta for legalisation but one should verify the position in each case.

Mortgagee Rights
In the event of default of any term or condition of a registered mortgage or of any document or agreements referred to therein, the mortgagee shall, upon giving notice to the mortgagor –
• Be entitled to take possession of the ship or share therein in respect of which he is registered; but except so far as may be necessary for making a mortgaged ship or share available as a security for the mortgage debt, the mortgagee shall not by reason of the mortgage be deemed to be the owner of the ship or share, nor shall the mortgagor be deemed to have ceased to be the owner thereof;
• Have power absolutely to sell the ship or share in respect of which he is registered; but where there are more persons than one registered as mortgagees of the same ship or share, a subsequent mortgagee shall not, except under the order of a court of competent jurisdiction, sell the ship or share without the concurrence of every prior mortgagee; and if the proceeds of sale, after discharging the mortgage debt show a surplus in his hands, the mortgagee shall deposit the same for the benefit of other creditors and of the mortgagor;
• Have power to apply for any extensions, pay fees, receive certificates, and generally do all such things in the name of the owner as may be required in order to maintain the status and validity of the registration of the ship.

For the purposes of the proceedings above, the debtor shall be deemed to be served if the application or other act is served on the master of the vessel, or if he is absent from these Islands on the local agent appointed for the vessel by the owners or their agent, or in the absence of such local agent or a curator appointed by the court to represent the debtor and the ship.

Mortgage Registration
• Mortgages may only be registered at the Registry of Ships in Malta.
• Only one original form is delivered and registered. A copy is retained by the Registrar and certified copies are issued in any number. The original is returned to the mortgagee.
• No other documents, apart from the corporate authorities and written consents, if applicable, need to be filed at the time of the registration of the mortgage in the vessel’s Register. The registry is also requiring a good standing certificate from the company registry stating the names of directors and shareholders, issued as of the date of the relevant resolutions.
• Copies of the corporate authorities are accepted as long as the originals are notarised and legalised.
• The fees payable for mortgage registration are Euro 500.
• A vessel currently under construction may be registered under the Malta flag as long as when built or equipped it would qualify as a ship registrable under the Merchant Shipping Act. In the case where a Declaration of Ownership has been completed in the registration of a vessel under construction, and registration has occurred under the ownership of a particular party, a mortgage may be registered over such vessel while it is still under construction. In cases where no Declaration of Ownership has been made in respect of the vessel registered under the Malta flag, no mortgage may be registered. The documents required are the same as those required for the registration of a mortgage on a Malta flagged vessel.

Amendment Mortgages
A mortgage may be amended for any purpose, but it must, at law, be effected for any one or more of the following purposes:
• To increase the amount secured by such mortgage
• To extend such mortgage to secure any other obligation of the mortgagor, whether as principal or as surety for any other person, in favour of the mortgagee.
In order to affect the amendment a new instrument of mortgage is executed containing the amendment, together with the written consent on the said instrument, of the mortgagee whose mortgage has been amended. This instrument is executed by the mortgagor and counter-signed by the mortgagee in the presence of witnesses.
• Where any mortgages other than the mortgage that it is intended to amend are entered in the register of the ship, an amendment shall not be noted unless the consent in writing of all the other mortgagees whose interests may be prejudiced by the amendment, is produced to the registrar.
• The documents are the same as those of a new mortgage in addition to the above-mentioned consents where applicable.
• As with a ‘normal’ mortgage registration, the registration of an Amendment Mortgage may only occur in Malta. One original form is delivered and registered. A copy is retained by the Registrar and certified copies are issued in any number. The original is returned to the mortgagee.
• No other documents apart from the mortgage form, the required corporate authorities to execute the amendment mortgage and a good standing certificate dated as per the corporate authorities are required. Fax copies of the corporate authorities are accepted as long as the originals are notarised and legalised.

Mortgage Discharges
• The discharge of a mortgage ends the obligations of the mortgagor (the shipowning company) to the mortgagee (the Bank).
• The original mortgage deed with a receipt for mortgage money endorsed thereon, duly signed and attested in the requisite part, specifically reserved for discharge on the back of the mortgage deed is all that is required to discharge a mortgage. If the mortgage is not already signed, a power of attorney appointing a Maltese representative to sign for and on behalf of the mortgagee will be required. The power of attorney must e notarised and apostilled or legalised.
• The discharge mortgage is substantially a receipt for monies paid.
• The discharge is executed by the mortgagee and should be witnessed (preferably by a notary public, Honorary Malta Consul or lawyer). In practice two systems are usually followed for the purpose of effecting mortgage discharges:
o In some cases, the mortgagee executes the discharge through his authorised representative at the mortgagee’s place of business, which documents are notarised and apostilled and the original form of mortgage is then sent to the local mortgagee’s representative for registering at the appropriate moment;
o In others, the mortgagee issues a power of attorney to his Maltese representative, duly notarised and legalised and the latter attends to the discharge formalities at the appropriate moment and registers such discharge. A specimen power of attorney is reproduced.
• Copies of the power of attorney are accepted as long as the originals are notarised and legalised.
• Discharges may be effected quite quickly after instructions are given by the mortgagee. Certified true copies of the discharges are issued by the Registry. Transcripts of Register with a free from encumbrances notation may be ordered or simultaneous issuance but arrangements must be made beforehand, time limitations at the registry of Shipping permitting.

General
• There is no statutory obligation to display a copy of the mortgage on board the vessel, but this usually forms the object of a specific contractual stipulation usually found in the Deed of Covenants ancillary to the mortgage.
• A registered mortgage shall be deemed to be an executive title where the obligation it secures is a debt certain liquidated and due and not consisting in the performance of an act.
• The rights of a mortgagee apply to all registered mortgages which secure debts resulting from any account current or overdraft or other credit facility.
• Upon the registration of any mortgage in the register, the rights of any mortgagee shall not be affected by:
• The creation of any separate privilege or charge on any part, appurtenance or accessory of a ship which may attach in virtue of any law; or
• The reservation of ownership rights by a seller of any part, appurtenance or accessory sold to a shipowner under a contract of sale, hire purchase or any similar contract.

Dispute Resolution

• The jurisdiction in which a dispute will be heard is dependent on the place wherein the ship has been arrested.
• The law governing the dispute will vary in accordance with the laws chosen under the various contracts. The Deed of Covenants and the Loan Agreement express their own choice of law and will be governed by a law chosen by the parties. As regards the mortgage deed itself, any dispute arising under the mortgage deed will be subject to the jurisdiction of the country where the ship is arrested but decided according to Maltese law.

Fees

Transport Malta provides a convenient Ship Registration Fees Calculator
https://www.transport.gov.mt/Registration-Fees-and-Tonnage-Tax.pdf-f2829

Contact

For Facilitation purposes
Chief Officer (Ports & Yachting Directorate), Transport Malta
Capt David Bugeja
Ports and Yachting Directorate
Malta Transport Centre
Triq Pantar
Hal-Lija
Malta

Phone
+ 356-222-202
+356 21 2222203

Email
david.bugeja@transport.gov.mt

Web
http://www.transport.gov.mt

Fax
+ 356-226-309
+356 2222204

For Ship inspection and casualty investigation services
Transport Malta Merchant Shipping Directorate
Mr Ivan Sammut
Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen
Malta Transport Centre
Lija
LJA 2021
Malta

Phone
356 21 250360

Email
mershipmalta.tm@transport.gov.mt

Web
http://www.transport.gov.mt

Fax
356 21 241460

Malta International Shipowners Association
Exchange Building, Republic Street
Valletta VLT 1117
Malta
ships@maltanet.net |+356 2122 8193

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 Malta

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
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
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 x
LLMC Convention 76
LLMC Protocol 96 x
SUA Convention 88 x
SUA Protocol 88 x
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 x
ANTI FOULING 2001 x
BALLASTWATER 2004 x
NAIROBI WRC 2007 x
HONG KONG CONVENTION x

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