The Merchant Shipping Act (Chapter 234 of the Laws of Malta) regulates the registration and operation of vessels under the Malta flag and is based on its English Law counterpart. Under the Merchant Shipping Act, any type of vessel (including but not limited to oilrigs, platforms, barges etc) may be registered in the Maltese Shipping Registry and fly the Malta Flag. Furthermore, the Merchant Shipping Act also allows for bareboat charter registration for foreign ships under the Malta Flag and also for the bareboat charter registration of Maltese ships under a foreign flag.

The Malta flag affords a number of benefits, including but not limited to the following:

– A straight forward procedure for registering vessels, low ship registration costs, and an efficient system of obtaining a deletion certificate and closure of registry.

– A competent authority, backed by a qualified and efficient team of technical experts available for urgent matters 24/7.

– No restrictions as to nationality of corporate owners, nor on the nationality of shareholders and directors of Maltese shipping companies.

– Reputation of the Malta flag as a flag of confidence with a serious and competent maritime administration that is active on international shipping fora.

– A consistently low detention record in terms of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control.

– Malta is a member of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) since 1966, and of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). It is also a party to the major IMO and ILO conventions.

– Low effective VAT on Yachts.

– An attractive fiscal regime (see Taxation).