Malta Passenger Yacht Code introduced

By virtue of Merchant Shipping Notice 171, the Merchant Shipping Directorate announced that it has introduced the Passenger Yacht Code (the “PYC”), which came into force on 25th May 2021. The PYC is a result of consultation with various industry stakeholders.

The PYC applies to passenger yachts which:

– carry more than 12 and not more than 36 passengers (the term “passengers” in this context does not include the master, crew or any other person employed on board the passenger yacht);

– carry no more than 200 persons in total;

– do not carry cargo; and

– are engaged on international voyages.

The aim of the introduction of the PYC is to eliminate the disproportionate and burdensome results which, prior to the coming into force of the PYC, used to ensue by the application of the rules applicable to passenger ships to passenger yachts carrying more than 12 passengers which fell outside the parameters of the Malta Commercial Yacht Code. The latter Code applies to yachts engaged in commercial operations carrying up to 12 passengers.

Accordingly, the PYC sets out a more practical approach while also ensuring the highest standards of safety on board and of marine pollution prevention since the provisions contained therein are more in line with the characteristics of a passenger yacht falling within the scope of the PYC. In fact, while a passenger yacht falling within the scope of the PYC will still have to meet the rules set out in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and other applicable international conventions’ requirements, the PYC includes a number of dedicated equivalencies which a passenger yacht falling within its scope may meet in lieu of certain disproportionally onerous international conventions’ requirements.

A passenger yacht to which the PYC is applicable shall be surveyed, certified, audited and issued with Class and Statutory Certificates applicable to Passenger Vessels by a Recognised Organisation. A certificate attesting compliance with the PYC will be issued by the Recognised Organisation.

The introduction of the PYC and the elimination of the disproportionality surrounding larger commercial yachts was well received and has contributed to the ever-increasing popularity of registration under the Maltese flag.

For further information contact Kurt Portelli.