The enactment of the 1973 Merchant Shipping Act officially established the Flag of Malta as an “open” register. Thanks largely to this Act Malta’s maritime industry flourished, making it the success it is today. Malta is so successful in all things maritime that its shipping registry is the largest in Europe and 6th largest in the world.
Malta’s heritage in the maritime arena is due to extensive experience in all Maritime Law matters. Besides this experience, the Malta Flag has a flawless reputation because Malta is on the low risk ship list (a.k.a. whitelist) of both the Paris MoU and the Tokyo MoU. Continuing its desirability are two additional factors: Malta employs a straightforward registration process and has effective tax minimization structures in certain cases. These advantages serve to qualify Malta as an attractive maritime law hub.
You will discover that the Malta Yacht Registration process is very streamlined, offering many potential benefits along with attractive incentives to yacht owners. This no-nonsense approach to vessel registration has made registering in Malta the preferred process in Europe.
Malta is ideal for yacht registration since it is the largest maritime registry in Europe and the 6th largest in the world.
Malta's success in the maritime industry is primarily due to two main factors:
(1) The reputability of its flag and register.
Malta’s topographical location, in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, has given the Malta Yacht Register, and the Maltese flag, a substantial degree of reputability. An easy-to-follow registration procedure for both registration and deletion of vessels contributes to this validation, as well as competitive registration and renewal fees. This process also guarantees a 24-hour service to deal with matters of urgency.
The Malta maritime flag is widely known and highly respected by an over-whelming majority of port authorities throughout the world. Malta has a flag state inspectorate ensuring adherence to international standards. Furthermore, there are no restrictions on the nationality of the master, officers and crew serving on Maltese vessels, guaranteeing a certain level of flexibility.
(2) Tax Haven: Possibility of fiscal planning and VAT payment minimization.
Malta Yacht Registration provides both securities for financiers as well as incentives including favorable tax regimes in certain particular scenarios, even potentially down to 5.4%.
All types of marine vessels, including large cruise lines, super tankers or private yachts, may be registered through Malta Yacht Registration. Yachts, depending on their intended use, can be registered via the Malta Yacht Registration, under the Maltese flag, as either private pleasure yachts or as a commercial yacht.
Through Malta Yacht Registration, yachts may be registered as either Private Pleasure Yacht or Commercial Yacht.
The Merchant Shipping Directorate considers the following:
Private pleasure registered yacht – as any pleasure yacht, of 6 meters in length or more, which does not carry passengers for reward and is not engaged in trade. Principally the vessel must be used for the sole purpose of the owner.
Commercial registered yacht – as a yacht, of 15 meters in length or more but not more than 3000 gross tones, which do not carry cargo, carries not more than 12 passengers and is operated by the owner or body corporate owning the yacht for commercial use.
Malta Yacht Registration, under the Maltese flag, happens in two phases. Initially, the vessel will be registered and issued with a provisional certificate of registration that is valid for six months and for which only a few documents are required to be filed with the Maltese Maritime Authority. During the conducting of the provisional registration, all the required documents and certificates must be filed with the Maltese Maritime Authority and surveys performed. When all these tasks are finished, a certificate of registration will be issued by the Maltese Maritime Authority.
Surveys are generally overseen by Maltese Government-appointed surveyors or alternatively by international classification societies which are recognized by the Maltese Maritime Authority.
Any yacht (pleasure or commercial) spending more than 6 months in any calendar year sailing in the EU VAT zone waters shall be liable to VAT in the place of effective importation, irrespective of its ownership. Upon payment of the said VAT, a yacht has the right to free movement throughout the entire EU VAT zone. Consequently, yacht owners must ensure that proof of VAT payment is always carried on board in order to obtain clearance from customs officials present in EU ports.