Shipping, Ship Registration & Management

Due to its strategic position at the centre of the Mediterranean, Malta has long been associated with shipping, and this industry has grown and evolved with the times. In fact, Malta today offers a whole range of international maritime services and facilities. With its deep natural harbours, well equipped ports and excellent infrastructure facilities, Malta provides a haven for international shipping.

Owners of all types of vessels, including yachts, passenger cruise ships, tankers and oil rigs, may register such vessels under the Malta flag and take advantage of the various benefits, particularly fiscal, that are available under Maltese law. The Malta flag is a flag of confidence and a flag of choice, and today, Malta’s Ship Register is one of the largest ship registers in the world.

Malta is recognised as a secure and cost efficient centre for the registration and management of vessels. The registration and operation of ships under the Maltese Flag is regulated by the Merchant Shipping Act.

Malta shipping benefits include:

  • Low company formation, ship registration and tonnage tax costs
  • Attractive fiscal incentives to owners, charterers, managers and financiers of tonnage tax ships
  • Licensed Shipping Organizations are exempt from Malta income tax
  • No duty on the sale or transfer of shares in a Maltese licensed shipping organisation
  • No restrictions on the nationality of the master, officers and crew
  • An effective mortgage system protecting financiers
  • No restrictions on the sale and mortgaging of Maltese ships
  • Malta is a party to the major international maritime conventions
  • Reduced compliance requirements for certain types of licensed shipping organizations
  • No restrictions on the nationality of the ship owner

A vessel is initially provisionally registered under the Malta flag for a period of six months, which period may be extendible to one year, during which period all documentation must be finalized.