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Shipowner Eligibility 

A vessel of Polish nationality is a vessel of Polish ownership, or a vessel which has temporarily obtained Polish nationality in the manner determined by the provisions of the Code. A vessel of Polish ownership is a vessel which is owned by any of:
• The State Treasury
• A body corporate having its seat in Polan
• A Polish citizen resident in Poland

A vessel is also of Polish ownership when it is owned at least one-half by persons mentioned above, or when she is owned by a company whose capital belongs at least by one-half to the abovementioned persons, provided that her operator is resident or has its head office or a branch office in Poland. Polish nationality may be temporarily granted to a foreign vessel (i.e. a vessel bareboat chartered into the Polish Registry) on the following terms:
• An appropriate application is lodged by a Polish ship operator and his assurance given that he will take possession of the vessel, man her in accordance with Polish regulations, and submit her to Polish regulations in regard to measurement, safety of navigation and ship’s documents.
• The owner of the vessel shall agree that his vessel be temporarily granted Polish nationality.
• The law of the state in whose register the vessel has been entered does not oppose the conferment of Polish nationality upon the vessel, and a proper authority in this state will ensure that, while under Polish nationality, the vessel shall not fly the flag of the other state.

Polish nationality is temporarily granted to a vessel by the Maritime Chamber, after having ascertained that the above requirements have been met. The decision determines the duration of the Polish nationality. The temporarily granted Polish nationality expires unless it has been prolonged under an application of the ship’s operator. The Maritime Chamber confirms the termination of the decision upon receipt of a notice from the ship’s operator that any of the conditions determined above is no longer complied with. Temporary exemption of a vessel from Polish nationality may take place where:
• The owner transfers possession of the vessel to a foreigner or foreign body corporate and agrees to temporary exemption of the vessel from Polish nationality.
• The law of the state, the nationality of which is to be temporarily granted to the vessel, does not oppose transfer of the flag.

The Maritime Chamber exempts a vessel temporarily from Polish nationality on the owner’s application. The decision determines the period of exemption. During this period, the vessel cannot fly the Polish flag.

About the Flag

Located in Central Europe east of Germany, Poland is a member of the European Union, UN and IMO. It is a Polish speaking democratic state with its capital at Warsaw. The President is the Chief of State, and the Prime Minister is the Head of Government. There is a bicameral national assembly. The legal system is a mixture of continental (Napoleonic) civil law and holdover communist legal theory but changes are being introduced. In 1989, the first free election since communist control resulted in an overwhelming victory for the trade union Solidarity. Since 1990, Poland continues to make progress in the difficult transition to a market economy, particularly in the areas of privatization and industrial production. Machinery and transport equipment are important products, and principal trading partners are Germany, Italy, and Russia. The unit of currency is the zloty.

The Register of Ships is kept by the Maritime Chamber which is responsible for the vessel’s home port (either Gdynia/Gdansk or Szczecin/Swinoujscie). As quasi-judicial bodies, the tasks and organizations of these authorities are determined by the Maritime Chambers Act of 1961, with subsequent amendments. The Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Maritime Chambers are professional judges and, as a rule, the Vice Chairman is in charge of the Register.

Company Formation

Information forthcoming.


The Polish tonnage tax scheme is established by the Tonnage Tax Act, adopted on 24 August 2006.

The Tonnage Tax Act allows tonnage tax liable ship operators to be exempted from paying tax on profits in relation to revenue from eligible activities. The ship operators have the right to choose tonnage tax treatment by submitting a special declaration, by which they opt for this type of taxation.

Pursuant to Article 5 of the Tonnage Tax Act, for each vessel subject to tonnage tax, the taxable profits pertaining to eligible activities shall be fixed at a lump sum calculated on the basis of its net tonnage as follows, per 100 NT, per 24-hour period started and corresponding to the period of operation in the month concerned of all the operator's ships, the revenue from which is subject to tonnage tax:

Net capacity of vessel Calculation of flat-rate revenue

Up to 1000 NT The equivalent of EUR 0.5 per 100 NT

From 1001 to 10 000 NT The equivalent of EUR 0.35 per 100 NT over 1000 NT

From 10 001 to 25 000 NT The equivalent of EUR 0.20 per 100 NT over 10 000 NT

From 25 001 NT The equivalent of EUR 0.10 per 100 NT over 25 000 NT

For the purposes of calculation, the net capacity of the vessel is rounded up or down in the following manner: a capacity of less than 50 NT is discarded and a capacity of 50 NT or more is rounded up to the nearest 100 NT.

The amount of tonnage tax due is calculated from the taxable base to which the rate of 19% is applied. The amount of tonnage tax due is calculated without deduction of any cost incurred in the generation of such revenue.

Under Article 8 of the Tonnage Tax Act, revenues from the sale of an eligible vessel by a tonnage tax company will go out of the perimeter of tonnage tax revenues and be taxed at a flat rate of 15% where they are not fully used within three years for the purchase, repair, modernisation or adaptation of another vessel.

1.1. Eligibility criteria

1.1.1. Eligible vessels

Only seagoing vessels listed in the Polish maritime register are eligible for tonnage tax. Therefore an eligible vessel is a vessel that is flagged in Poland and engaged in international maritime transport, which complies with all the requirements for navigation at sea. Acceptance of a ship as seagoing will normally require the ship to be certified as such under the International Load Line or the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (hereinafter "the SOLAS Convention") .

1.1.2. Eligible activities

The activities eligible for tonnage tax are as follows:

(i) Transport of freight and/or passengers;

(ii) Sea rescue operations;

(iii) Maritime towage, on condition that at least 50% of the revenue from the work actually per-formed by the tug over a fiscal year was generated by the provision of maritime transport and not towage to and from a port;

(iv) Dredging, on condition that 50% of the revenue from the work actually performed by the dredger during the course of a year is generated by the transport at sea of materials.

In addition, Article 3(2) of the Tonnage Tax Act provides ancillary activities that are eligible for tonnage tax on condition that they are connected with the provision of eligible services stipulated above. Article 3(3) of the Tonnage Tax Act establishes a list of activities that are never eligible for tonnage tax, such as exploration from the sea bed, fishing, construction, underwater works, etc.

1.1.3. Eligible entities

Eligible companies are operators fulfilling certain criteria.

An operator is defined in Article 2(3) of the Tonnage Tax Act as:

(i) A private individual (natural person) or a legal person, having respectively its place of residence, registered office or management on the territory of Poland;

(ii) A partner in a civil partnership, registered partnership, limited partnership or limited joint-stock partnership having its registered office, management or place of residence on the territory of Poland; or (iii) a foreign entrepreneur/undertaking within the meaning of the Act of 2 July 2004 on freedom of economic activity, performing in Poland activities eligible for tonnage tax; and meeting at least one of the following conditions:

- To be directly involved in navigation using maritime vessels personally owned or owned by another person and to hold a valid Document of Compliance ;

- To be the owner of a vessel but not to engage personally in navigation of his own vessel or that of another person;

- To manage a vessel of another person, on behalf and account of that person on a contractual basis, and to hold a valid Document of Compliance.

Articles 3 and 4 of the Tonnage Tax Act provide that tonnage tax eligible ship-owners must put un-der tonnage tax all eligible vessels and all eligible activities performed onboard these vessels. Consequently, a selective use of the tonnage tax scheme is excluded.

Only seagoing vessels listed in the Polish maritime register are eligible for tonnage tax.

Registration and Documentation

A Certificate of Registry is issued only for Polish owned vessels upon their entry in the register. The authority responsible for keeping the register of ships issues only a Document of Flag, which is kept in the Record of Documents of Flag, for vessels which have obtained only temporary Polish nationality. The register is available for examination by those with a legitimate interest in obtaining information contained there. The following original documents or information must be submitted in the prescribed form in support of an application for a Certificate of Registry:
• Full description of the technical characteristics of the ship
• Designation of the ship’s owner and operator
• If legal persons, the date and registration number of entry into the proper register
• Evidence of title of ownership
• Evidence of contract between the ship owner and operator when the operator is not the owner
• Value of the ship
• Name of the ship approved by the local maritime administration office
• International call sign assigned
• Certificate of Tonnage Measurement
• Name of the builders, place and year of building
• Deletion Certificate or evidence of cancellation of previous registry, if any
The following original documents or information should be submitted in support of an application of a Polish ship operator for the issuance of a Document of Flag to a vessel which has temporarily obtained Polish nationality:
• Designation of the ship’s operator: its name, address, and if legal person, the head officer and the names of the persons authorized to represent it
• Designation of the ship: its present and previous names and home port, previous foreign registries propriate for the shipowner, official number of identification of the ship entered in this registry in the name of the owner
• Description of the technical characteristics of the ship in accordance with the data contained in the Certificate of Tonnage Measurement
• Certificate of Tonnage Measurement
• Evidence indicating exemption and/or suspension of previous registration as regards the nationality of the ship under the former flag state

Bareboat Charter Registration

Temporary Polish nationality can be granted under certain conditions to foreign vessels, and Polish vessels can obtain a temporary exemption from Polish nationality. The granting of and exemption from Polish nationality are not necessarily connected with any change in ownership.

Vessel and Yacht Eligibility & Survey Requirements

The Polish classification society, Polski Rejestr Statków (, conducts statutory surveys and issues appropriate certificates on behalf of the Polish Government including those regarding the Load Line and Tonnage Conventions. In the case of SOLAS, Polski Rejestr Statków carries out the surveys and prepares reports but may not issue a certificate.

The other classification societies recognized by the Polish Government are:
• Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS)
• Lloyd's Register of Shipping (LR)
• RINA Services S.p.A. (RINA)
• Bureau Veritas (BV)
• Det Norske Veritas (DNV)



Warsaw, 9 October 2015 Item 1569

ACT of 5 August 2015 on maritime labour

This is an abbreviated version of the Act. For the full text go to:

Chapter 1 General Provisions

Article 1.
1. This Act regulates:
2. The provisions of the Act shall apply to seagoing ships, hereinafter referred to as “ships”, intended or used for commercial activities.
3. The provisions of the Act shall apply to non-convention ships to the extent defined in the Act.
4. The provisions of the Act shall not apply to vessels of the Navy, Border Guard and Police
5. The provisions of the Act of 26 June 1974 – Labour Code (Journal of Laws of 2014, item 1502, as amended), hereinafter referred to as the “Labour Code”, shall apply to employment relationships on ships to the extent not regulated herein.

Chapter 2 - Minimum requirements for seafarers to work on a ship

Article 3.
1. Only persons above 18 can be employed on a ship.
2. Seafarers can be employed on a ship if they hold:
1) documents confirming professional qualifications;
2) a valid medical certificate;
3) a valid seaman’s book.
3. Young persons above 16 can be employed on a ship solely for the purpose of vocational training.
4. Trainees can perform vocational training on a ship in accordance with the curriculum of the school or the university referred to in Article 74(2)(1) and (2) of the Act of 18 August 2011 on maritime safety, hereinafter referred to as “university”.

Article 4.
1. Only seafarers deemed capable to work on a ship following a medical examination can work on a ship.
2. The medical fitness of a seafarer shall be confirmed by a medical certificate in the form of a medical certificate signed by a duly qualified medical practitioner.
3. Medical examinations for medical certificates shall be performed by duly qualified medical practitioners who specialise in maritime and tropical medicine, occupational medicine, transport medicine or who meet additional qualification criteria defined in provisions issued on the basis of Article 229(8) of the Labour Code.
4. As part of a medical examination aduly qualified medical practitioner can refer a seafarer for consultations with a specialist or psychologist or order auxiliary diagnostic tests.
5. A medical certificate shall be valid for 2 years and if the person who desires to work on a ship is under 18, it shall be valid for one year.
6. A seafarer over 50 and a seafarer whose health condition, according to a duly qualified medical practitioner, prevents issuing a medical certificate valid for 2 years may be issued a medical certificate valid for less than 2 years.
7. A medical examination of the ability to identify colours shall be valid for up to 6 year
8. The medical certificate shall state if the seafarer if fit or unfit for work on a ship in a given capacity and if there are any restrictions on the seafarer’s fitness for work, in particular as to working time and tasks.
9. The medical certificate shall be drawn up in Polish and in English.
10. The costs of a medical examination for a medical certificate shall be borne by the shipowner.
11. A medical certificate issued in another country shall be considered equivalent of a medical certificate issued on the basis of the Act if it meets the fundamental requirements laid set out in the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978, done in London on 7 July 1978 (Journal of Laws of 1984, No 39, item 201, of 1999, No 30, item 286 and of 2013, item 1092), hereinafter referred to as the “STCW Convention”.

Chapter 4 - Conditions of employment and organisation of work on a ship
Article 26.
1. The employment on a ship shall be based on a seafarer employment agreement. The employment agency may enter into the seafarer employment agreement on behalf of the shipowner.
2. The seafarer employment agreement shall be made for an indefinite period, for a definite period or for a sea voyage.
3. The employment period under the seafarer employment agreement for a definite period, and the total employment period under seafarers’ employment agreements for a definite period concluded between the same parties of the employment relationship, shall not exceed 36 months, if the time between the termination of the previous and the signing of the following seafarer employment agreement have not exceeded 90 days.
4. If the employment period under the seafarer employment agreement for a definite period is longer than the period referred to in paragraph 2, the seafarer shall be considered to be employed under the seafarer employment agreement for an indefinite period starting from the date following the expiry of the period referred to in paragraph 3.
5. The seafarers’ employment agreement with a young person who is not a trainee shall be concluded for the purpose of vocational training.


Any particular (liens, mortgages etc.) which is subject to entry in the Register is effective against third parties when it has been recorded. Such particulars, even though not entered in the Register, are effective as against third parties when they were otherwise cognizant of it. It is stressed under the Code, that the removal from the Ship Register of a vessel which has been found unfit for repairs or not worth repairing or has lost her Polish nationality or has lost the character of a seagoing vessel may be effected only with the consent of a creditor whose lien or maritime hypothecation on the vessel has been properly recorded.


Contact: Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation


Facilitation purposes
Ministry of Infrastructure
Mrs Agnieszka Michalak-Pochylska
Head of Maritime Transport Unit
6/12 Nowy Świat St.
+ 48 22 583 85 93
+ 48 22 583 85 70
+ 48 22 583 85 71

Ship inspection and casualty investigation services
Maritime Office in Gdynia, PSC Inspectorate
Mr Sławomir Hołyst
Port State Control Co-ordinator
Polska Str. 2
+ 48 58 355 36 20
+48 691 760 301
+48 58 620 68 95

Stockholm Agreement 96
IMO Convention 48
* IMO amendments 91 
* IMO amendments 93
SOLAS Convention 74
SOLAS Protocol 78
SOLAS Protocol 88
LOAD LINES Convention 66
LOAD LINES Protocol 88
TONNAGE Convention 69
COLREG  Convention 72
CSC Convention 72
CSC amendments 93
SFV Protocol 93
STCW  Convention 78
STCW-F Convention 95
SAR  Convention 79
STP Agreement 71
STP Protocol 73
IMSO Convention 76
INMARSAT amendments 94
INMARSAT amendments 98
IMSO amendments 2006
IMSO amendments 2008
FACILITATION Convention 65
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex I/II)
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex IV)
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex V)
MARPOL Protocol 97 (Annex VI)
London Convention 72
London Convention Protocol 96
INTERVENTION Convention 69
CLC Convention 69
CLC Protocol 76
CLC Protocol 92
FUND Convention 71
FUND Protocol 92
FUND Protocol 2003
NUCLEAR Convention 71
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex III)
PAL Protocol 76
PAL Protocol 90
PAL Protocol 02
LLMC Convention 76
LLMC Protocol 96
SUA Convention 2005
SUA Protocol 2005
SALVAGE Convention 89
OPRC  Convention 90
HNS Convention 96
Cape Town Agreement 2012
SUA Convention 88
SUA Protocol 88

IMO Conventions

Status of Conventions Poland

IMO Convention 48 x
SOLAS Convention 74 x
SOLAS Protocol 78 x
SOLAS Protocol 88 x
SOLAS Agreement 96 x
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 x
SAR Convention 79 x
STP Agreement 71
Space STP Protocol 73
IMSO Convention 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 x
INTERVENTION Protocol 73 x
CLC Convention 69 d
CLC Protocol 76 x
CLC Protocol 92 x
FUND Protocol 76 x
FUND Protocol 92 x
FUND Protocol 2003 x
NUCLEAR Convention 71
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
OPRC/HNS 2000 x

x= ratification

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