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 Sailing Yacht Registration in Malta

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Yacht Registration under the Malta Flag

     

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Our Maritime Law Unit specialises in the registration of ships, yachts and other marine vessels under the Maltese Flag. Upon providing us with a power of attorney for the formation of a shipping company and for the registration of your yacht, our firm can assist at all stages and from all aspects of this process.

Malta has the largest ship registry in Europe and the 6th largest in the world. Malta’s success in the maritime industry, but particularly in relation to super yachts, is based on two main pillars:

  • the reputability of its flag and register and

  • the possibility of fiscal planning and VAT payment minimization in the context of yachts and super-yachts used for pleasure purposes, that is, for private and not commercial use.

Why Malta?

  • Malta has the largest ship registry in Europe and one of the largest in the world

  • Malta is on the White List of the Paris MoU and Tokyo MoU and on the Low Risk Ship List of the Paris MoU, providing ship-owners with a sense of security when you go through yacht registration process under Maltese flag.

  • Malta provides for a straightforward procedure for registration and deletion of vessels, including the registration and discharge of mortgages being utterly important for the purpose of obtaining financing;

  • Competitive registration and renewal fees

  • There are no restrictions on the nationality of the master, officers and crew serving on Maltese vessels

  • Minimum technical requirements in relation to pleasure yachts allowing owners to freely design their own yachts

  • There is a Flag state inspectorate to ensure adherence to international standards and a 24-hour service to deal with urgent matters.

  • Highly equipped yacht marinas all over the island

Specifically in relation to yachts used for pleasure and not commercial purposes in the European Union, Malta offers a favourable regime for VAT minimisation, potentially down to 5.4%, through a leasing set up.

Any type of marine vessels, be it large cruise lines, super tankers or private yachts may be registered through Malta Yacht Registration. Yachts, depending on their intended use, can be registered via the Malta Yacht Registration, under the Maltese flag, as either private pleasure yachts or as a commercial yacht.

Through Malta Yacht Registration, yachts may be registered as either Private Pleasure Yacht or Commercial Yacht.

The Merchant Shipping Directorate considers;

  • Private pleasure registered yacht – as any pleasure yacht, of 6 metres in length or more, which does not carry passengers for reward and is not engaged in trade. Principally it must be used for the sole purpose of the owner.

  • Commercial registered yacht – as a yacht, of 15 metres in length or more but not more than 3000 gross tonnes, which do not carry cargo, carries not more than 12 passengers and is operated by the owner or body corporate owning the yacht for commercial use.

Private Yacht registration

The provisional registration is valid for six months. In order to register your yacht permanently under the Maltese flag, you must provide the following documents within six months from provisional registration:

  • yacht survey certificate from an authorized surveyor in the port where the yacht lies attesting the yacht's seaworthiness; should your surveyor have difficulty in obtaining the official Malta Maritime Authority form

  • then a survey certificate form can be provided

  • only if your yacht is more than 24 metres in length, we will need an International Tonnage Certificate

  • a bill of sale showing that your Maltese company has bought the yacht; or a builder's certificate in the name of the Maltese company if the yacht is new or has never been registered anywhere previously

  • a radio installation form and a radio licence application which we will provide to you after provisional

  • registration which must be filled in by an authorized surveyor in the port where the yacht lies.

  • a Carving and Marking note from an authorized surveyor in the port where the yacht lies; this is a form which we will provide after provisional registration

  • if the yacht has been registered previously outside of Malta, a certificate showing cancellation of registry from that last country of registry (deletion certificate)

Commercial Yacht registration

To register your yacht provisionally under the Maltese flag we will need from you:

  • an MCA Certificate of Survey issued by a classification society

  • if your yacht is more than 24 metres in length, we will need an International Tonnage Certificate and a Load Line Certificate also issued by a classification society

The provisional registration is valid for six months. In order to register your yacht permanently under the Maltese flag, you must provide the following documents within six months from provisional registration:

  • yacht survey certificate from an authorized surveyor in the port where the yacht lies attesting the yacht's seaworthiness; should your surveyor have difficulty in obtaining the official Malta Maritime Authority form then a survey certificate form can be provided

  • a bill of sale showing that your Maltese company has bought the yacht; or a builder's certificate in the name of the Maltese company if the yacht is new or has never been registered anywhere previously

  • a radio installation form and a radio licence application which we will provide to you after provisional registration which must be filled in by an authorized surveyor in the port where the yacht lies.

  • a Carving and Marking note from an authorized surveyor in the port where the yacht lies; this is a form which we will provide after provisional registration

  • if the yacht has been registered previously outside of Malta, a certificate showing cancellation of registry from that last country of registry (deletion certificate).

The operation of commercially registered yachts for chartering purposes using a Maltese company (using a Maltese International Trading Company)  is very tax advantageous. Profits from chartering are taxed at 4.17%, there is no VAT on chartering contracts and VAT paid on purchases by the Maltese company can be reclaimed.

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