Malta is a renowned international maritime center and registering a vessel under the Maltese flag has many advantages for foreign shipping companies. Currently, the Malta Ship Registry is the 6th largest register in the world. Maltese shipping companies may register any type of vessel, according to the Merchant Shipping Act with very low set-up and maintenance costs. There are no limitations with respect to shipping company ownership or trading in Malta. Also, Maltese companies registering vessels will also benefit from significant tax exemptions and reduced VAT rates for pleasure yachts.
Shipping companies are registered according to the Merchant Shipping Act of 1973 and must be incorporated as private or limited liability companies or partnerships in Malta. The most employed type of company, however, remains the private limited liability company registered under the latest Merchant Shipping Regulations from 2004. A Maltese company qualifies as a shipping company if it is licensed by the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen and has one of the following objects of activity:
Shipping companies may also operate as Maltese holding companies provided that they are authorized by the Maritime Authority. All shipping companies in Malta must obtain an International Maritime Organization Number before incorporation. Presently, a draft legislation for shipping company re-domiciliation in Malta is under debate.
The most important documents when registering a shipping company in Malta are the articles of association that must specify:
Our lawyers in Malta may draft the articles of association for customers’ shipping companies.
Depending on the activities a Maltese company will undertake, the following codes in the Nomenclature of Economic Activities are available under Section I for transport, storage and communication:
For complete information about the Merchant Shipping Act regulations for shipping companies, you may contact our Maltese lawyers.
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