Maritime law is one of Be.Legal’s areas of expertise. Working closely with its affiliates the firm represents some of the world’s most renowned ship owners and managers.
Registration of vessels under the Malta flag allows owners and managers to avail themselves of various advantages including the tonnage tax system and a number of double taxation agreements backed by a 24/7 administration which has ratified all the major international maritime conventions and adheres to the highest European and international standards.
Vessels eligible for registration under the Malta flag must be wholly owned by (i) citizens of Malta; (ii) EU citizens; (iii) Maltese corporate entities; (iv) foreign constituted bodies or entities; and (v) trusts and foundations. Where the vessel is owned by a foreign owner, a resident agent must be appointed in order to act as the main channel of communication between the vessel’s owner and the Maltese Shipping Registry.
Registration of Mortgages
The main advantages of registering a mortgage over a Maltese-registered vessel, can be summarised as follows:
- Mortgage is an executive title under the Maltese Law and can be enforced upon default without the need for a special judgement;
- Vessels constitute a particular class of moveables whereby they form separate and distinct assets within the estate of their owners for the security of actions and claims to which the vessel is subject. In case of bankruptcy of the owner of a vessel, all actions and claims, to which the vessel may be subject, shall have preference, on the said vessel, over all other debts of the estate;
- In case of default on behalf of the mortgagor, the mortgagee is entitled:
- to take possession of the ship;
- absolutely to sell the vessel;
- generally to do any such things in the name of the owner as may be required in order to maintain the status and validity of the registration of the vessel;
- Mortgages enjoy a relatively high ranking among maritime claims;
- A clause can be inserted into the mortgage prohibiting further mortgages and transfers of ownership in the vessel without the prior consent of the mortgagee;
- Easy procedure for transfer of mortgage to any person;
- A vessel cannot be deleted from the Register without at least one month’s notice to the mortgagee given by the Merchant Shipping Directorate;
- The mortgage attaches not only to the vessel but also to any insurance compensation and indemnity for accidents.
How can we assist you?
Be.Legal offers a full range of services including the following:
- registration of vessels under the Malta flag;
- drafting, reviewing and amending loan and finance agreements, mortgage recitals, legal opinions, as well as corporate authorities;
- registration and enforcement of ship mortgages;
- transfer of ownership;
- deletion of the vessel from the Maltese shipping register;
- acting as resident agent of a foreign owner;
- marine litigation and arbitration;
- admiralty claims (both wet and dry);
- cargo claims;
- arrest of vessels.