Mauritius: Offshore Business Sectors
Ship Management and Maritime Operations
See Offshore Business Review – Shipping for a more general treatment of offshore shipping registries.
Registration in the Mauritius Open Ship Registry is regulated by the Mauritius Merchant Shipping Act 1986 and the Mauritius Shipping (Amendment) Act 1992, which are modelled on the English Merchant Shipping Act. Administration of the Registry is in the hands of the Director of Shipping, of the Ministry of Trade and Shipping.
Port Louis is the home port of the Registry and houses its head office. Provisional certificates of registry can also be issued by Mauritian embassies, consulates and honorary consuls worldwide.
The following categories of person can own and register ships or bareboat charters lasting a minimum of 12 months:
- Citizens of Mauritius;
- Mauritian-registered companies controlled by Mauritian citizens;
- Other companies whether or not Mauritian, subject to approval;
- Mauritian GBC1 and GBC2 (old Offshore Companies and International Companies) - see Forms of Company - provided that their activities are confined to the registering of ships under the Mauritian flag and that their shipping activities are carried out exclusively outside Mauritius.
Ships to be registered must be not more than 15 years old and class must be maintained with one of the classification societies approved by the Director of Shipping. Third party insurance must be evidenced, also compliance with the major international maritime conventions.
The actual registration process is carried out through the Financial Services Commission and involves the incorporation of an Offshore Company or an International Company if one does not already own the ship. Provisional registration is good for six months. A normal range of documentation is required during the registration process.
Mortgage rules are in line with the British system of mortgages. Mortgages, which can apply during provisional registration, and their discharge, are registered with the Director of Shipping.
See Offshore Legal and Tax Regimes for details of the taxation of Mauritian-registered ships.
Mauritius also operates an International Aircraft Registry under the MOBA Act 1992 (now the Financial Services Development Act 2001, as amended). This Registry is administered by the Financial Services Commission, while the licensing, certification and regulation of aircraft and their operations is carried out by the Department of Civil Aviation.