The Malta Ships Register has become the sixth largest maritime flag in the world, according to statistics for 2014, says a report in Fenech & Fenech Advocates.
Malta has moved up from seventh place in 2013 and has retained its position as the largest in Europe. The Maltese register has not only registered an increase in gross tonnage but has also continued to attract younger vessels to its fleet whilst retaining high standards.
Malta has a centuries old Maritime tradition. The strategic location of the Maltese Islands at heart of the Mediterranean Sea
, its natural harbours, and the entrepreneurial and maritime skills of its people have, since time immemorial, conspired with its history and millennial culture to transform this Europea
n sovereign state into an international maritime service centre.
The success story is supported by a legislative structure which, through the years, has adapted to the needs of the maritime industry and at the same time has provided the certainty and security which is required by owners, operators, managers and financiers alike.
The Merchant Shipping Act (Chapter 234 of the Laws of Malta) (the “Act”), as the primary instrument regulating the registration of ships under the Malta flag, widely defines the term “ship” as all types of ships, including those under construction, as well as other marine structures such as oil-rigs and pontoons, all of which may be registered under the Malta flag.
This definition also means that pleasure boats, commercial yachts, tankers, container and other commercial ships, pontoons, barges, floating production storage and offloading vessels (FPSOs), installations and structures and offshore oil rigs/drilling units are all eligible for registration under the Malta flag.
The Act requires all ships exceeding six (6) metres in length which are not employed solely in navigation on the coasts of Malta to be registered in the Ships Register of Transport Malta.
In addition to full registration, the Act allows for bareboat charter registration of ships, in other words, the registration of a ship in two jurisdictions which are legally considered to be compatible.
Maltese flag compatibility has currently been established with various ship registries including with that of Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Cyprus, the Isle of Man, Italy, Liberia, the Marshall Islands, Panama
, Turkey, Spain and several others. This provides owners and charterers with flexibility for their contractual arrangements and operation of ships.