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Belize: Offshore Business Sectors

Ship Management and Maritime Operations

See Offshore Business Review - Shipping for a more general treatment of offshore shipping registries.

The Registration of Merchant Ships Act, 1989 (as amended 1996) established the International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize (IMMARBE). The Registry's worldwide network of surveyors provides shipowners with ease of access in obtaining the technical certification necessary for compliance with the legislation.

The Act stipulates that every vessel registered in IMMARBE must have a shipping agent in Belize. IMMARBE normally grants provisional registration to vessels for a period of six months. Applicants may then apply immediately for permanent registration (valid for five years). A normal range of documentation is required for registration.

The legislation also allows for dual registration of vessels that need to comply with terms of charter contracts; IMMARBE issues a special navigation and radio licence to the vessel for an initial period of two years. Title, deed, mortgage or other documents relating to the vessel need to be registered only at the vessel's mother registry during this time period.

As of 2008, the register held a total of 231 ships (1,000 GRT or over) by type: barge carrier 1, bulk 32, cargo 152, chemical tanker 2, container 1, petroleum tanker 9, refrigerated cargo 12, roll on/roll off 5, short-sea/passenger 1, specialized tanker 1. The register had grown to a total 942 ships, totalling 1.952m GRT by December 2012.

See Offshore Legal and Tax Regimes for details of fees payable on provisional registration, and fees payable annually thereafter. See Law of Offshore for details of the registration process.

Belize has been included in the IMO White List and the Registry has attained ISO 9002 certification.



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