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Turks and Caicos Islands

Shipowner Eligibility 

Ships (other than bareboat charter ships) are divided into 64 shares. A share may be owned by up to five people or companies or a mix of both as joint owners. Joint owners are considered as one party although all of the names of the joint owners are recorded in the Register as owners of that share or shares. Joint owners must act together to sell or mortgage a vessel or shares. At least 33 of the 64 shares of a British ship must be wholly owned by one of the following "qualified" persons:
• British citizens
• Persons who are nationals of the EU or EEA and who must make an economic contribution to the UK (having a business, being self employed etc.)
• British Dependent Territories citizens
• British Overseas citizens
• Persons who under the British Nationality Act 1981 are British subjects
• Persons who under the Hong Kong (British Nationality) Order are British Nationals Overseas
• Bodies corporate incorporated in one of the EU or EEA countries
• Bodies corporate incorporated in the UK or any relevant British possession and having their principal place of business in the UK or any such possession
• European Economic Interest Groupings

About the Flag

The Turks and Caicos Islands comprise a dependent territory of the United Kingdom located in the Caribbean Sea southeast of The Bahamas. The islands are peaks of an underwater mountain chain often called the Caribbean Andes. The capital city is Grand Turk, and English is the official language. The English Queen represented by a local Governor is the Chief of State. Following an investigation into allegations of widespread corruption and misconduct within the Turks and Caicos Government, the UK foreign minister directed the governor to bring into effect on 14 August 2009 an Order in Council suspending Ministerial government and the House of Assembly, and imposing direct rule pending completion of reform milestones.

The economy is based on fishing, tourism, and offshore banking. Only subsistence farming exists on the Caicos Islands, so most foods as well as nonfood products must be imported. Lobster, conch and shells are the main exports. Principal trading partners are the United Kingdom and the United States. The currency is the US dollar. The tropical climate and scenic beauty have contributed to the nation’s popularity as a vacation destination.

Vessels registered in Turks and Caicos are considered to be British ships and are entitled to fly the Red Ensign. The Registrar General is the Registrar of British Ships in the islands, and ship registration is administered in accordance with the UK Merchant Shipping Acts 1894 to 1967. Turks and Caicos concentrates primarily on the registration of pleasure yachts. An Offshore Finance Center Unit of the government services international business needs.

Turks & Caicos Islands are members of the British Red Ensign Group and operate as a Category Two Red Ensign (British) Registry.

Company Formation

The Companies Ordinance 1981 governs company formation. There are two main types of companies: ordinary and exempted. To register either, three copies of the Memorandum and Articles of Association in the prescribed form must be submitted to the Registrar of Companies, along with the necessary fee. A declaration is required from the subscriber(s) to the Memorandum of Association of an exempted company, stating that the company's operations will occur mainly off of the Islands. A registered office in the Islands is required for both types of companies, and exempted companies are also required to select a representative resident in the Islands.

For all Turks and Caicos companies, there must be at least one shareholder, either an individual or a corporation. Liability may be limited by guarantee or limited to the amount of unpaid capital on the shares. Shares may be of no par value and may be in bearer form. The Board of Directors may consist of one or more directors, either individuals or corporations.

A secretary is required and may also serve as director of the company. Directors are not required to reside in the Islands, and meetings are not required to be held there. Ordinary companies must hold one general meeting per year, the first of which can be as much as 15 months after the company's incorporation. Ordinary companies must file an annual return with the Registrar of Companies following the annual meeting, with details of the share capital, nominal and issued, and the shareholders, directors and officers of the corporation. This is a public document.

Exempted companies file a return as well, but in the form of a declaration that the requirements of the Companies Ordinance have been met. Exempted companies are not required to file details regarding shareholders or directors. Authorized capital can be expressed in any currency, and there is no minimum paid-up capital requirement. The company name can be in any language, and "Limited" is not required to be incorporated in the name. The objects of the company may be unrestricted, and there is no requirement that an annual general meeting of shareholders be held.


There is no direct taxation on the Islands and no corporate taxation on income, profits or gains. Thus, there are no double taxation treaties ratified with other nations.

Registration and Documentation

Procedures for registration follow the UK Merchant Shipping Acts, with the exception that the 1988 Act has not yet been extended to the Islands. Provisional registration must be obtained from the Consular Department, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London, England.

For permanent registration, the following procedures are required:
• Application in writing must be made by or on behalf of the owner to the Registrar of Shipping
• Approval of the name of the vessel must be obtained. If under 100 GRT, the Registrar may approve the name.

For vessels over 100 GRT, application must be made to the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen in Cardiff, Wales, using a specific form.

Approval may be sent by cable or telex in urgent cases, to be followed by the appropriate documentation. Changes of name proposed for foreign ships seeking registration as British ships must be authorized by the Department of Transport, UK.

• The vessel must be measured and surveyed and a Certificate of Survey given to the Registrar.
• Evidence of title must be produced. For British-built ships, a Builder’s Certificate and Bill of Sale are necessary; for foreign built ships, the Builder’s Certificate requirement may be waived.
• A Declaration of Ownership must be submitted to the Registrar of Shipping. Corporations must have an “authorized officer” perform this declaration.
• An Official Number must be carved and marked on the vessel. The Carving and Marking Note must be returned to the Registrar after completion by a surveyor.

Once the above are completed and all fees are paid, a Certificate of Registry will be issued.

Bareboat Charter Registration

There is currently no bareboat charter legislation.

Vessel and Yacht Eligibility & Survey Requirements

For vessels of less than 100 GRT, local surveyors in the islands are authorized to carry out surveys. For larger vessels, Bureau Veritas and Lloyd's Register are authorized.


The master, chief officer, and chief engineer must be British nationals and duly certificated if the vessel calls at UK ports. If the vessel does not call at UK ports, there are no mandatory nationality or certification requirements. There are no nationality and certification requirements for ratings.


Mortgage guidelines follow the UK model under the Merchant Shipping Acts. Mortgages rank in priority according to the date and time at which they are produced and accepted for registration. Registered mortgages are not affected by any act of bankruptcy committed by the mortgagor after the date of registration. The Registrar registers transfers of mortgages on production of the Mortgage Deed duly endorsed for transfer with the appropriate fee.


For more information, contact:
TCI Government
Government House
Grand Turk
Tel: (649) 941 - 2801

Financial Services Commission
P.O. Box 173
Harry E. Francis Building
Pond Street
Grand Turk
Turks & Caicos Islands
Tel: (649) 946 - 2791/2550
Fax: (649) 946 - 2821/1791

Financial Services Commission
P.O. Box 140
Leeward Highway
Turks & Caicos Islands
Tel: (649) 941 - 5399
Fax: (649) 941 - 3549


Turks and Caicos Department of Environment and Maritime Affairs
National Environmental Centre
Lower Bight Road, Providenciales
Turks & Caicos Islands
T: 649.941.5122
F: 649.946.4793
Providenciales Office
T: 649.338.4170
Grand Turk Office
T: 649.338.3173
South Caicos Office
T: 649.338.6254
Dr Eric Salamanca
T: 649.338.4175
Mr Henry Wilson
T: 649.338.4171
T: 649.338.4162
Mr Idi Gardiner
T: 649.338.4168
Environmental Outreach& Education:
Mrs Amy Avenant
T: 649.338.4176

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 Turks and Caicos (Member of the Red Ensign group)

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
SAR Convention 79 x
STP Agreement 71 x
Space STP Protocol 73 x
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 x
INTERVENTION Convention 69 x
INTERVENTION Protocol 73 x
CLC Convention 69 d
CLC Protocol 76 d
CLC Protocol 92 x
FUND Protocol 76 d
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 d
LLMC Protocol 96 x
SUA Convention 88 x
SUA Protocol 88 x
SUA Convention 2005
SUA Protocol 2005
SALVAGE Convention 89 x
OPRC Convention 90 x
HNS Convention 96

x= ratification

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