A Guide to the Registration of Commercial Yachts in Malta

A Guide to the Registration of Commercial Yachts in Malta

The Malta Commercial Code was launched in 2006 and brings together in one document the requirements for both yachts below 24 metres and yachts above 24 metres in order to be operated commercially.  As at December 2015 more than 230 yachts, with an average length of 31 metres, are registered as commercial yachts under the Malta flag.

As at December 2015 more than 230 yachts, with an average length of 31 metres, are registered as commercial yachts under the Malta flag

On the 1st October 2015 a revised version of the Malta Commercial yacht Code was issued in order to better serve the needs of the larger yacht industry and aims to optimise the regulatory regime to the particular needs, demands and technologies of this market, in conformity with safety and international regulations and standards. The main changes/updates applied to the Commercial Yacht Code include the following:

  • removal of the 3,000 GT boundary;
  • the Survey & Certification Process has been made more user transparent, friendly and less time consuming;
  • LY2, LY3 and “Codice dell Noleggio” certified charter yachts transferring to the Malta Registry are being issued with an operational Commercial Yacht Code Certificate upon the initial application and thereafter given three months time to complete any necessary surveys and formalities;
  • Areas concerning glazing and windows were duly updated with current trends and technologies;
  • Various requirements were reviewed and re-written to be more practical and user friendly;
  • Structural Fire Protection requirements have been reviewed and updated;
  • MLC 2006 accommodation requirements have been introduced and adapted to the yachting industry;
  • Installation requirements and deadlines for the BNWAS (Bridge Navigation Watch Alarm System) have been introduced;
  • MARPOL and SOLAS up to-date requirements have been introduced as applicable (such as ISM, ISPS, IAPP, IEEC etc);
  • As part of the Paris MoU Inspection Regime and PS Circular 61 Charter Yacht owners/masters are instructed to report to the Administration whenever there is a port State detention of their yacht in order to ensure that timely corrective action is taken and to take any necessary steps in order to prevent future recurrences;
  • Specific details and requirements about helicopter landing/parking areas have now been incorporated in the Code;
  • The COC includes also a mini-survey status with the surveys’ due dates clearly indicated and accompanied with a Record of Equipment.

Yachts Eligible for Registration as a ‘Commercial Yacht’

  • All types of yachts can be registered as a commercial yacht under the Malta flag, including historical and training yachts

    Yachts in commercial use of over 15 m in overall length and which do not carry cargo and do not carry more than 12 passengers;

  • All types of yachts can be registered as a commercial yacht under the Malta flag, including historical and training yachts;
  • New Yachts over 24 metres in length are to be built to the requirements and standards of a classification society authorised to issue statutory certificates on behalf of the Government of Malta. Malta recognizes all leading classification societies. Yachts below 24 metres in length do not require to be classed.

Manning Requirements

All commercial yachts over 24 metres in length are issued with a Minimum Safe Manning Certificate. Transport Malta has, over the years, built considerable experience in this field. Malta recognises training and certification from the most reputable training establishments and countries. There are no restrictions on the nationality of the crew.

Survey and Certification

All yachts covered by the Code are required to be surveyed, certified and maintained in accordance to their respective category requirements. An Initial Survey is first carried out when a commercial yacht is joining the Malta flag for the first time. Upon satisfactory completion of the Initial Survey a 5 year valid Certificate of Compliance to Trade as a Commercial Yacht (COC) is issued.

LY2, LY3 and “Codice dell Noleggio” certified charter yachts transferring to the Malta Registry may be issued with an operational Commercial Yacht Code Certificate, immediately, upon the initial application for a period of three months to complete any necessary surveys and formalities. Subsequent to Initial Certification, during the 5 year validity of the COC, yachts less than 24m length have to undergo an Intermediate Survey whilst yachts greater or equal to 24m in length have to undergo annual surveys. The COC is renewable every five years and surveys may be carried out by Appointed Surveyors or by Recognised Organisations.

Registration Procedure

A yacht is first registered provisionally under the Malta flag for six months (extendible for a further period, or periods not exceeding in the aggregate six months) during which period all documentation needs to be finalised. The requirements for provisional registration include the following:

  • application for registration by owner or an authorized representative proof of qualification to own a Maltese ship;
  • in the case of a body corporate, the memorandum and articles of association;
  • in the case of non Maltese owners, appointment of a resident agent declaration of ownership made in front of the Registrar by the owner or an authorized representative where applicable;
  • copy of the yacht’s International Tonnage Certificate where applicable;
  • application for Ship Radio Station Licence payment of initial registration fees and annual tonnage tax

The documents which need to be submitted during provisional registration include the following:

  • In the case of a second hand yacht, a bill of sale or any other document by which the yacht was transferred to the applicant of registry, otherwise a builder’s certificate in the name of the applicant;
  • cancellation of registry certificate issued by the Administration where the yacht was last documented;
  • Certificate of Survey;
  • a copy of the International Tonnage Certificate (where applicable), issued by an Appointed Surveyor or by a Recognised Organisation;
  • CE Marking Note.

Contact Be. Legal Advocates to find out more about the Registration of Commercial Yachts in Malta

About Dr Doran Magri Demajo

Dr Doran Magri Demajo is a Partner at Be Legal and is primarily responsible for corporate law, employment law, financial services and Maritime law.
View all posts by Dr Doran Magri Demajo

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