Malta: Offshore Business Sectors
Ship Management and Maritime Operations
Malta is one of the top ten shipping registries worldwide. The original Merchant Shipping Act 1973 based on English law has been adapted and modernised in 1986, 1988 and 1990; and further improvements are planned. The Merchant Shipping Directorate of the Malta Maritime Authority supervises the sector and has developed a world-wide network of surveyors and inspectors. Malta adheres to all the major international maritime conventions.
The Maltese registry accepts all types of vessel, from pleasure yachts to oil rigs. Bareboat charter registration is allowed both of foreign ships under the Maltese flag and of Maltese ships under a foreign flag. There are no restrictions on the nationality of crew in Maltese law, and no age limit for ships. The shipping laws are flexible with regard to sale or mortgaging of ships.
By the end of 2012, a total of 5,950 ships, with a total of 45.6 million tonnes were registered. The register generated more than EUR12 million in revenue .
In early 2012, Malta was confirmed as the country with the largest ship register in Europe.
In January, 2006, Malta was one of four flag states that attained the highest quality ranking following the Paris Memorandum on Port State Control's latest inspections.
The Paris MoU White List represents quality flags with a consistently low detention record. Finland, France, Isle of Man, and the United Kingdom, are placed highest in terms of performance. In all, the White List includes 33 flag states.
In order to register a ship in Malta, it must be owned by a company incorporated in Malta. In most circumstances, Maltese shipping companies are exempt from taxes. See Offshore Legal and Tax Regimes and Law of Offshore for further details.