uisition or sale of vessels, the various aspects of eligibility for registration, the actual registration under the Maltese flag, insurance and financing arrangements, the employment of crew members, registration and enforcement of mortgages and advise on their implications, charter agreements and maritime claims and litigation.

Why Register your Vessel in Malta ?

There are various advantages which include:

  • wide use of the English language
  • low company and ship registration costs;
  • no restrictions as to the nationality of the owner, master, officers and crew;
  • no restrictions on the sale and mortgaging of Maltese vessels;
  • no restrictions on the transfer of shares of a company owning such Maltese vessels;
  • a number of fiscal incentives.

Such fiscal incentives include:

  • exemption from income tax to owners, charterers, and financiers of Maltese ships over 1,000 net tons (smaller ships can also benefit from this exemption under certain circumstances) on income derived from shipping activities of a licensed shipping organisation;
  • no income tax is payable on gain arising on the liquidation, redemption, cancellation, and disposal of shares, interest or goodwill held in a Maltese licensed shipping organization;
  • no income tax is payable on interest or other income payable to persons in relation to financing of shipping operations or the financing of ships;
  • persons not resident in Malta who are officers/ employees of licensed Maltese shipping organizations are entitled to be exempt from the provisions of the Social Security Act
  • exemption from duty in respect of:

           - the registration of an exempt ship;

           - the issue, allotment, purchase or transfer of any security or interest in a shipping organization;
           - the sale of the ship;
           - the registration or transfer of any mortgage or charge over any ship or shipping organization; and
           - the assignment of rights and interests or the assumption of obligations in respect of any ship.

Eligibility for Registration

All vessels including pleasure/commercial yachts, ships, oil tankers and oil rigs can be registered under the Maltese flag. Certain restrictions may apply in the case of very old vessels.

It is important to note that a foreign shipping company need not incorporate a new company in Malta in order to register its vessels in Malta as long as a resident agent in Malta is appointed. We can offer our assistance in this regard.

Registration Procedure

The Maltese Merchant Shipping Act is largely based on its UK counterpart, whereby ship and yacht registration in Malta is divided into 2 main stages:           

(i) the provisional registration (valid for 6 months extendable to 1 year), and

(ii) the permanent registration.

Once a provisional registration certificate is issued by the Maltese Registrar of Ships, there are 6 months within which all necessary documents have to be submitted so that a permanent registration certificate can be issued.

Specific Commercial Yacht Registration

Under Maltese law it is possible to register a yacht as a commercial one, thereby benefiting further from various fiscal advantages available under Maltese/EU law.  A Yacht can qualify to be registered as a Commercial Yacht when all the technical requirements set out in the Commercial Yacht Code are satisfied. A survey by an approved Malta Government Surveyor will establish whether the yacht satisfies the requirements set out in the Maltese Commercial Yacht Code.

The various fiscal incentives attached to the registration of a vessel as a commercial yacht include:

  • exemption from VAT and from import duty on importation
  • exemption with credit for
  • the chartering and hiring by a Maltese VAT registered company of a commercially-registered yacht;
  • the supply of equipment to be incorporated in commercial vessels
  • the modification, maintenance of such vessels or their equipment;
  • the supply of goods, fuelling or provisioning of such vessels;
  • the supply of other services for the direct needs of such vessels, such as valuation and agency services.        

Certain exemptions may be availed of only in specific circumstances, and thus we shall be glad to provide specific advice targeted for your particular needs.

Please feel free to contact us for advice and assistance on any of your yachting and shipping requirements.


Malta is one of the preferred jurisdictions for the registration of ships and yachts, the reason being a number of tax exemptions and other advantages which are applicable to ships/yachts and their companies in Malta. Indeed Malta has kept its reputation as a maritime hub in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.

Our Services

Our services in this area include advise and assistance on the acq- 

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