OFFICIAL GUIDE TO SHIP & YACHT REGISTRIES

Sri Lanka

Shipowner Eligibility 

Vessels must be wholly owned by citizens of Sri Lanka, or any body corporate as may be determined by the Minister to be Sri Lankan.

About the Flag

A republic, Sri Lanka is located off the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent and, due to its location, emphasizes transshipping. It gained independence from Britain in 1948 as Ceylon, and changed its name in 1972. The capital is Colombo. The legal system is a highly complex mixture of English common law, and Roman-Dutch, Muslim, Sinhalese and customary laws. The Chief of State and Head of Government is the President. Sinhala is the official language. Tamil and English are also spoken. Sri Lanka is a member of the UN, IMO, and the Commonwealth.

Merchant Shipping Secretariat which is the shipping administration arm of Sri Lanka has the overall responsibility for overseeing maritime concerns. The activities of the Merchant Shipping Secretariat are basically governed by the Merchant Shipping Act No.52 of 1971, Licensing of Shipping Agents act No. 10 of 1972 and also the relevant clauses of the Admiralty Jurisdiction Act No. 40 of 1983 and subsequent regulations made thereafter. Merchant Shipping Secretariat deals with ensuring safety of life and property at sea, maritime education, training, examination and certification, registration of ships under Sri Lanka flag, Licensing of Shipping Agents, Container Depot Operators, Container Terminal Operators, Container Freight Stations, Freight Forwarders or a Non Vessel Operating Common carriers and implementing provisions of all applicable international Maritime conventions and national regulations. As its overreaching responsibility in Sri Lanka, the MSS develops and implements the government’s maritime safety policy. In this remit, though, it has many roles including checking of ships for compliance of Sri Lankan and International Safety regulations (Flag State and Port State Control).

Company Formation

The Minister has determined that a company incorporated in Sri Lanka shall qualify for ownership of a vessel. A company may be incorporated through application to a Sri Lankan lawyer or legal firm. It may then apply for offshore status by submitting:
1) A certified copy of the charter, statutes, or memorandum and articles of association of the company in a language to be specified by the Registrar of Companies;
2) A list of directors or those managing the affairs of the company, containing full names, addresses, occupations, and offices they hold in the company;
3) The names and addresses of the persons resident in, and being a citizen of Sri Lanka, authorized to represent the company;
4) A statement containing the full address of the registered or principal office of the company in the country of incorporation and the principal place of business of the company in Sri Lanka; and
5) A recently certified copy of the incorporation of the company.

Initial incorporation fees are on a per share basis and are payable to the Registrar of Companies. In addition, an offshore company wishing to carry out business outside of Sri Lanka must present a certificate from a bank that a sum has been deposited to defray the expenses of the offshore company for the purposes of its office in Sri Lanka. These fees may be paid in US dollars for shipowning companies and in rupees for other companies.

Taxation

Shipowners may claim tax exemption for Sri Lankan incorporated companies under section 241 of the Companies Act 17, 1982 as an offshore company. Any company incorporated in Sri Lanka may apply to the Registrar of Companies to be registered as an offshore company and, upon acceptance of the application, it will be exempted from all taxes in respect of all incomes derived outside the shores of Sri Lanka under Section 08 of the Inland Revenue Act, No. 27, 1982. While all offshore companies engaged in worldwide operations are exempt from income/wealth tax, business turnover tax, etc., any vessel owned by such company which carries cargo to and from Sri Lanka will be liable to tax in respect of that consignment of cargo.

Registration and Documentation

Applications for six month provisional registration should be made to the Merchant Shipping Division of the Ministry of Ports and HIghways. The following original documents should be submitted:
• Three application forms
• Notarized proof of ownership (Bill of Sale or Construction Certificate)
• Consent of the current registry for transfer to the Sri Lankan registry or an actual Cancellation Certificate
• Certified copies of the Resolutions of the Boards of Directors and/or the power of attorney to the accredited officer or agent of the buying and selling companies
• Statement of the number of shares in the ship
• Declaration containing the name of the Master and his citizenship
• Declaration that to the best of the applicant's knowledge and belief that no unqualified person or body of persons is entitled as owner to any legal or beneficial interest in the ship or any share therein
• Confirmation of Class or Certificate of Seaworthiness dated not more than 14 days prior to the date of application for registration
• Certificate of Good Standing as to persons holding office as directors and secretary and as to the legal existence and present good standing of the company
• Proof of ownership duly legalized if applicant is transferring flag to Sri Lanka without a transfer of ownership

To obtain permanent registration, valid for four years, the following original documents must be presented in addition to those already submitted as listed above:
• Certificate of Class Maintenance
• Load Line Certificate
• Cargo Ships Safety Equipment Certificate
• Cargo Ships Safety Radio Telegraphy Certificate
• Passenger Ships Certificate, if applicable
• Marking and Carving Note, sworn to by applicant, authorized agent or master and notarized
• Crew list indicating names, nationalities, certificates of master, officers and the crew
• Name of company with which contract has been signed in respect of radio equipment
• An undertaking to inform the Registrar of any changes mentioned in particulars of the application
• An undertaking to engage not less than 50% of the ship's crew from Sri Lanka

Bareboat Charter Registration

Registration into the parallel registration section of the Sri Lankan Register Book is permitted. Required documents are:
• Original letter of confirmation by the appropriate maritime authorities in the country in which such a ship is registered that the law permits parallel registration and that the registration of the ship in that country has been temporarily suspended
• Original letter or certificate issued by authorities of original register as to the ownership, mortgages and other encumbrances on that ship
• Original written consent of the registered mortgagees of that ship to the parallel registration
• Original written consent of the owner of the ship to the parallel registration
• Photocopy of the bareboat charterparty

Every application shall be accompanied by the prescribed fee, which shall be paid in advance for the whole period. If the registration is canceled prior to the date of expiration, fees are non-refundable. All mortgages, liens and encumbrances continue to be registered in the original register, and the bareboat charterer is not entitled to sell or further mortgage or encumber the vessel in any way.

Vessel and Yacht Eligibility & Survey Requirements

Vessels may not exceed 20 years of age and must be in class as certified by one of the following approved classification societies:
• American Bureau of Shipping
• Bureau Veritas
• Chinese Classification Society
• Det Norske Veritas
• Indian Register of Shipping
• Korean Register of Shipping
• Lloyd's Register of Shipping
• Nippon Kaiji Kyokai
• Registro Italiano Navale (RINA)
• Maritime (Russian) Register of Shipping
Certificates for registration issued under SOLAS, 1960, Load Lines, 1966 or any other international convention to which Sri Lanka is party, as well as the Sri Lankan Certificate of Measurement, may be issued by the above.

Crewing

When application for permanent registration is made, one of the requirements is to supply firm assurance that not less than 50% of the ship's crew be from the Shipping Office of Sri Lanka. The engagement of Sri Lankan crew should be carried out within three months from the date of issuance of the Permanent Certificate through the Shipping Office in Colombo. Sri Lankan crews are trained at the Naval and Maritime Academy at Trincomalee and are found on ships of nearly all major maritime nations.
The Sri Lankan authorities issue a standard crew agreement which must be signed between the master and the Sri Lankan crew and which specifies such things as hours of work, holiday allowance, and annual leave, wages and overtime, sickness and accidents, and disability and death. Upon expiry of the agreement, the shipowner must arrange for the repatriation of seafarers for any reason and meet the full cost of their travel to Sri Lanka including lodging and meals while in transit. Strikes are considered illegal. In the event of a dispute between the seafarer and owner, representations can only be made to the Shipping Officer of Sri Lanka or to a Consular officer of a Sri Lankan embassy.

Mortgages

If a mortgage transaction is occurring at the same time as provisional or permanent registration, the applicant must show the name of the mortgagee, total amount of mortgage discharged, amount and date of maturity. The mortgage will be assigned in the name of the mortgagee.

Contact

Registrar of Ships,
Merchant Shipping Division,
Ministry of Ports & Shipping
1st Floor, Bristol Building,
43-89, York Street,
Colombo 01.
Sri Lanka.

Tele : +94-112-388376 / 435127, 441293/4
Fax : +94-112-435160
E-mail : dmsmos@sltnet.lk
Website: http://www.dgshipping.gov.lk

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 Sri Lanka

IMO Convention 48 x
SOLAS Convention 74 x
SOLAS Protocol 78
SOLAS Protocol 88
SOLAS Agreement 96
LOAD LINES Convention 66 x
LOAD LINES Protocol 88
TONNAGE Convention 69 x
COLREG Convention 72 x
CSC Convention 72
CSC amendments 93
SFV Protocol 93
Cape Town Agreement 2012
STCW Convention 78 x
STCW-F Convention 95
SAR Convention 79
STP Agreement 71 x
Space STP Protocol 73 x
IMSO Convention 76 x
INMARSAT OA 76 x
IMSO amendments 2006
IMSO amendments 2008
FACILITATION Convention 65 x
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex I/II) x
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex III) x
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex IV) x
MARPOL 73/78 (Annex V) x
MARPOL Protocol 97 (Annex VI)
London Convention 72
London Convention Protocol 96
INTERVENTION Convention 69 x
INTERVENTION Protocol 73
CLC Convention 69 d
CLC Protocol 76
CLC Protocol 92 x
FUND Protocol 76
FUND Protocol 92 x
FUND Protocol 2003
NUCLEAR Convention 71
PAL Convention 74
PAL Protocol 76
PAL Protocol 90
PAL Protocol 02
LLMC Convention 76
LLMC Protocol 96
SUA Convention 88 x
SUA Protocol 88
SUA Convention 2005
SUA Protocol 2005
SALVAGE Convention 89
OPRC Convention 90
HNS Convention 96
HNS PROT 2010
OPRC/HNS 2000
BUNKERS CONVENTION 01
ANTI FOULING 2001
BALLASTWATER 2004
NAIROBI WRC 2007
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