Malta, a country which has witnessed centuries of maritime
tradition enjoys the status of an international maritime
services centre at the heart of the Mediterranean. Thanks
to its natural harbours and its peoples entrepreneurial and
maritime skills Malta offers a whole range of maritime services and
facilities: deep natural harbours and well equipped ports which
offer a haven for international shipping, extensive bunkering, ship
supplies and towage services, ship building and ship repair yards
which can take the largest ships afloat, modern facilities for
transhipment and distribution, including a very successful Freeport
and oil terminal, high level training for both deck and engineering
officers at a very well respected nautical school, a hub for cruise
liners, international yacht marinas backed by efficient repair and
shore support services and of course, a reputable
international ship register which is now long
established as one of the largest in the world.
The Malta flag: A flag of confidence
The Malta Flag is today a flag of confidence and a flag of
choice. Its good standing is evidenced by the numerous reputable
ship owning and ship management companies which register their
ships in Malta, and also by the confidence shown by leading
international banks and financiers who at times recommend the
Ship registration: All types of vessels may be
All types of vessels, from pleasure yachts to oil rigs, may be
registered under the Malta Flag provided that, inter alia, they are
either wholly owned by Maltese citizens or a Maltese company.
Following amendments to our legislation, a vessel may be registered
in Malta even if it is owned by foreign owners, that is citizens of
the European Union or a foreign corporate body which enjoys legal
personality. An international owner must appoint an agent resident
There are neither trading restrictions nor age restrictions.
However, ships of 15 years and over, but under 20 years, must pass
an inspection by an authorised flag state inspector before or
within a month of provisional registration. Ships of 20 years and
over but less than 25 years must pass an inspection by an
authorised flag state inspector prior to being provisionally
As a rule, trading ships of 25 years and over are not
Apart from the aforementioned advantages, registering a ship in
Malta offers further benefits: -
Straightforward company formation procedure and low formation
and registration costs.
Ship registration is relatively straightforward.
Commercial Yacht Registry.
Tax exemptions and benefits for owners, charterers and
financiers of Maltese ships.
Effective corporate tax rate of 5%.
The modification, maintenance, chartering and hiring of
commercial ships are exempt from VAT.
The importation of commercial ships is exempt from VAT in
certain specified circumstances.
Reduced VAT rates on Yacht leasing.
No restrictions on the nationality of the shareholders and of
the directors of Maltese companies, and of the master, officers and
crew of Maltese ships.
No restrictions on the sale and mortgaging of Maltese
No trading restrictions.
Preferential treatment for Maltese ships in certain ports.
Serious and efficient maritime administration. –
Flag state inspectorate to ensure adherence to international
Twenty four hours, seven days a week service in respect of
Sound multilateral and bilateral relations.
Active participation in international shipping for a.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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A discussion on a recent judgment in relation to a case which considered whether a charterers' failure to pay hire is a breach of a condition which entitles owners to cancel the charter, and claim damages for the unperformed part.
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