OFFICIAL GUIDE TO SHIP & YACHT REGISTRIES

Trinidad and Tobago

Shipowner Eligibility 

Vessels should be owned by nationals of Trinidad, citizens of the Caricom States who are residing in a Caricom State, and foreign individuals or corporations in joint venture with nationals of Trinidad. Subject to the approval of the Minister responsible for shipping, persons outside the above categories can also own Trinidadian vessels.

About the Flag

The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago consists of two islands, Trinidad and Tobago, located in the Caribbean Sea northeast of Venezuela. The capital city is Port of Spain, and the official language is English. It is a parliamentary democracy with a President, Prime Minister and bicameral legislature. The legal system is based on English common law.

Trinidad and Tobago is a member of the Commonwealth, the UN, IMO, and Caricom.

Trinidad and Tobago's petroleum-based economy enjoys a high per capita income by Latin American standards. Other exports include chemicals, steel products, fertilizer, and sugar. Its chief trading partner is the United States.

The currency is the Trinidad and Tobago dollar.

The law which governs Trinidad's ship registration is the Shipping Act of 1987.

The main general cargo port is located in the capital city.

Company Formation

The commercial law of Trinidad and Tobago is governed by the Companies Act No. 35 of 1995 and the Companies (Amendment) Act of 1997.

The companies legislation is closely modeled on the Canada Business Corporation Act. A new company has all of the rights, powers, and privileges of a natural person subject to the provisions of the Act. Commercial trade is carried out under the umbrella of either a private company or a public company which is listed on the local stock exchange. The private limited liability company is by far the more common entity. One or more persons are required to incorporate a company under the new Act. The business of most companies is expected to run by a Managing Director who must be a natural person and by a secretary who may be an individual, body corporate, or firm. Foreign investors who are desirous of incorporating a private company in Trinidad and Tobago or of acquiring shares in any private company incorporated in Trinidad and Tobago are required by the terms of the Foreign Investment Act of 1990 to supply particulars in respect to their nationality and investment. The Companies Act also provides for the registration of foreign corporate entities in Trinidad and Tobago which confers resident status to such an entity. There is no particular regime in respect to maritime companies.

Taxation

Corporations are subjected to national taxes at the rate of 35% on profits earned or payable in Trinidad and Tobago. Individuals and partnerships are taxed at the rate of 28% or 35% depending on their level of income. No specialized regime of taxation exists for shipowners. Value added taxes ("VAT") at the rate of 15% are payable on all services, though there is an exemption to services provided by way of international trade to aircraft and vessels. Double taxation treaties exist with the following nations: the Associated States of the Caribbean, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Venezuela.

Registration and Documentation

Vessels are permanently registered at the Maritime Services Division in Port of Spain by submission of the following documents in triplicate: (The Shipping Act of 1987 makes provision for the registration of vessels provisionally at any Trinidad and Tobago Consulate office but the practice has not been formalized.)

• Application document
• Notice of Proposed Name for the Ship
• Declaration of appointment of managing owner
• Proof of ownership (Declaration of Ownership if built in a Caricom State, Builder's Certificate or Bill of Sale if built outside Caricom, or Order of Condemnation)
• Certificate of Survey
• Deletion certificate if previously registered, including a statement of maritime liens and charges
• Certificate of Incorporation of Company (if owner is a company)
• Secretary's Certificate attaching corporate resolution authorizing agent or officer to act or a notarized power of attorney
• Evidence of valid insurance

Originals of the above documents are required and, upon payment of the registration fees and tonnage taxes, the Certificate of Registry is granted. Provisional registration is valid for six months or until arrival of the vessel at a port in Trinidad whichever happens first. Documents received by facsimile will be accepted provisionally until originals are submitted.

Bareboat Charter Registration

Foreign vessels may be bareboat charter registered in Trinidad and Tobago provided that they are chartered to nationals of Trinidad. Such vessels fly the Trinidad and Tobago flag and are subject to the law of Trinidad regarding operation. Bareboat chartered vessels must meet all the requirements for provisional and permanent registration other than ownership and cancellation from present registry, though an application may have to be made to the Minister concerned to waive the cancellation of present registry.

Vessel and Yacht Eligibility & Survey Requirements

There is no statutory limit on the age of vessels permitted to be registered. The determining factor is the survey reports from the approved classification societies or Government appointed surveyor.

• American Bureau of Shipping
• Bureau Veritas
• Det Norske Veritas
• Lloyd's Register of Shipping

Before a ship is registered in Trinidad and Tobago:
It shall be surveyed by a surveyor and its tonnage ascertained in accordance with the regulations;
The surveyor shall deliver to the Registrar a Certificate of Survey specifying the ship's tonnage, the time and place of construction and such other particulars descriptive of the identity of the ship as the Registrar may require;

• The Registrar or any person delegated by him shall, on the basis of the Certificate of Survey, issue a tonnage certificate

Crewing

There are no nationality restrictions for crew members. Crewing standards for the safe operation of vessels of all classes except fishing vessels and those propelled by oars may be prescribed and enforced by the Maritime Services Division which operates through the Ministry of Works & Transport. Certificates of Competency are issued by the Division, and there is provision for recognition of foreign certificates issued to masters, seamen, officers and engineers on board ships. A license must be granted to such persons wishing to serve upon a ship registered in Trinidad and Tobago. Certificates of Competency issued in Trinidad and Tobago comply in all respects to the international regulations of the ILO and IMO. All seafarers must have Seafarer Identity Books which serve as a record of sea service and qualification.

Mortgages

The Shipping Act of 1987 prescribes a statutory format for creating mortgages of vessels or shares therein licensed under the Act. The Act also provides that the Registrar of Ships shall record all such mortgages in a Register Book and shall endorse thereon the date and time of acceptance of the mortgage instrument for the purpose of establishing priority. A registered mortgagee is given express statutory power to dispose absolutely of the ship or share therein in respect of which he is registered except where there is an issue to be determined by the High Court in respect of priority.

Fees

For more information, contact:
Registration
Ministry of Works and Transport
Head Office
2-4 London Street
Port-of-Spain 100623
Trinidad and Tobago
Tel: (868) 625-1225
communications@mowt.gov.tt

Company Formation
Companies Registry
Registration House
72-74 South Quay
Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies
Tel: [1] (868) 623-7163
Website: http://www.legalaffairs.gov.tt/registrar/companies_registry.htm

Taxation Information
Ministry of Finance
Level 8, Eric Williams Finance Building
Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies
Tel: [1] (868) 627-9700 / 9703 / 9695
Fax: [1] (868) 627-5882
Website: http://www.finance.gov.tt

Shipowners' Association
Shipping Association of Trinidad & Tobago
15 Scott Bushe Street
Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies
Tel: [1] (868) 625-2388, (868) 623-3355
Fax: [1] (868) 623-8570
Website: http://shipping.co.tt

Contact

Registration
Ministry of Works and Transport
Head Office
2-4 London Street
Port-of-Spain 100623
Trinidad and Tobago
Tel: (868) 625-1225
communications@mowt.gov.tt

Minister of Works and Transport
Senator the Honourable Rohan Sinanan

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 Trinidad and Tobago

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
INMARSAT OA 76
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 x
INTERVENTION Convention 69 x
INTERVENTION Protocol 73
CLC Convention 69
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 x
LLMC Protocol 96
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
BUNKERS CONVENTION 01
ANTI FOULING 2001 x
BALLASTWATER 2004 x
NAIROBI WRC 2007
HONG KONG CONVENTION

x= ratification
d=denunciation

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