Join one of the largest merchant fleets in the world, 1st in Europe and & 6th worldwide
Malta's international ship register has earned the ‘Flag of Confidence' through years of commitment, dedicated and improved legislation in line with EU Directives and IMO conventions as well as tighter registration criteria. The Malta flag is relatively young, opening in the 1970s and since then has grown from strength to strength particularly since accession to the European Union in 2004. Malta today is home to one of the largest merchant fleets in the world, 1st in Europe and 6th worldwide. As at the end of December 2013 the registered tonnage of ships registered under the Merchant Shipping Act totalled 51.8 million gross tons.
What are the benefits of having a Maltese flag?
- Costs for the incorporation and operation of a company, vessel registration fees and tonnage tax are low.
- Tax exemption for owners, operators, charterers and financiers of vessels, whether registered under the Malta flag or not, in respect of profits derived from the ownership, sale, operation, chartering and financing of Maltese vessels.
- Bilateral agreements with foreign governments are in place whereby preferential tax rates and port charges apply.
- The Maltese flag is on the White list of the Paris MoU and Tokyo MoU, which is taken into account when targeting ships for inspections.
- All types of vessels used in navigation, including barges, pontoons, oilrigs, vessels under construction and pleasure yachts, may be registered in the Maltese international ship register, though certain conditions and restrictions apply for vessels older than 15 years.
- Possible bareboat-in/bareboat-out charter registration.
- Effective securitisation of interests of credit institutions by virtue of registration of a mortgage (carrying considerable prior ranking) over such vessel.
- Ease of execution of registered mortgages and consequent vessel repossession.
- Recognition of all major classification societies.
- No restrictions on the nationality of masters, officers and crew, with extremely quick and cost effective crew certification process.
- Quick and efficient service of officers at the Merchant Shipping Directorate.
- A number of superyachts have also chosen Malta as their base in order to take advantage of the cost-effective services and favourable tax regime. The Commercial Yacht Code allows superyacht owners to have the yacht registered as a commercial vessel and pay annual tonnage taxes rather than income tax.
- Reduced VAT rates for pleasure yachts.
Malta is also a very efficient and advantageous jurisdiction to set up ship management operations mainly as a result of low operations costs and the high quality of financial and corporate services that the island offers. Malta's excellent ship register has also attracted a number of international ship management and ship-owning companies to be based in Malta.
EMCS International has extensive experience in the registration of vessels including pleasure and commercial vessels, bareboat in/out as well as time charter registration. Furthermore we have provided tax advice and set up several yacht leasing structures.
Our services in this area include:
- Ship registration under Malta flag by Malta Companies and International Owners whether registered as a Pleasure Yacht or a Commercial Yacht
- Acting as Resident Agent for International Owners
- Bareboat and Time charter registrations
- Registering and discharging of mortgages
- Provision of specific Tax and VAT leasing structures advice and the set–up of tax efficient structures
- Handling ancillary compliance issues eg. Radio licence
- Advisory on obligations under the Merchant Shipping Act
- Preparation of crewing contracts
- Assistance with annual compliance requirements and obligations
- Liaising with local authorities
- We may also assist you in other areas related to the maritime industry depending on your needs.