Yacht Registration Malta

In recent times, Malta has continuously experienced an increase in popularity as a yachting destination and more importantly as a yachting jurisdiction. Malta’s strategic position in the centre of the Mediterranean, as well as its climate, yacht marinas and natural harbours have continuously attracted yachts owners from different parts of the world to use the facilities which Malta has to offer. More and more yacht owners are registering their yachts under the Maltese Flag due to a strong legal framework which caters for industry requirements and obligations, and extensive availability of a whole range of maritime services. Indeed, the Maltese Ship Registry has grown exponentially to the point where it is the largest in Europe and 6th largest in the World. Furthermore, Malta has recently acquired “White Flag” Status in the Paris MoU Annual Report.

Here at DWP, we pride ourselves in providing several services related to Yacht acquisition and registration under the Maltese Flag, both to individual and corporate clients. Such services include but are not limited to the following:

  • Vessel Sales and Purchases
  • Drafting of Chartering and Leasing Agreements or Vetting of such Agreements
  • Advice related to VAT Structures and Tax Matters
  • Registration of Commercial Yachts and Pleasure Yachts
  • Resident Agent Services
  • Ancillary services such as renewals of certificates of Malta Registry, liaison with surveyors and Transport Malta Officials, and submission of related documents to the Maltese Authorities 

What our Service includes

1. Vessel Sales and Purchases

  • We offer advice to Clients both when they are selling their yacht or when they are acquiring a new yacht;
  • This includes providing advice on all the needed requirements to effect proper transfer of ownership with the Maltese Registry;
  • We will assist you in drafting all necessary documents needed to transfer or purchase a yacht legally, acquire all documentation needed from the Authorities – both if you are the vendor or the purchaser – and we can also assist you in deducing whether the yacht you are about to purchase has any registered encumbrances if it is already registered under the Maltese Flag.

2. Assistance related to Agreements

  • We can assist you in drafting both Chartering and Leasing Agreements or also analyse and assess such agreements from a legal point of view;
  • We may also assist with vetting crew contracts and provide advice relating to Employment Law and the Maritime Labour Convention.

3. VAT Structures and Tax Matters 

  • Our experience and qualifications in VAT and Tax-related matters is essential to help you understand the VAT and Tax implications of acquiring or selling a yacht registered under the Maltese Flag;
  • We can assist you in understanding better any matter which is related to your yacht which can include the amount of VAT you have to pay, assistance on tonnage tax, leasing structures as well as assistance on where and when you should pay or not pay VAT on deliveries.

4. Commercial vs Pleasure Status of the Yacht

  • Commercial Yacht Registration: Registration of Commercial Yachts is regulated by the 2015 Commercial Yacht Code issued by the Maltese Merchant Shipping Directorate. The salient features of a “Commercial Yacht” as defined by the Code is as follows:
    • Engaged in lawful trade
    • Having a length overall of 15m or more
    • Certified under provisions of the Code and which is in commercial use for sport or pleasure
    • Does not carry cargo
    • Does not carry more than 12 passengers
  • Pleasure Yacht Registration: The Merchant Shipping Directorate considers such Yachts to be Yachts which are of 6 metres in length or more, do not carry passengers for reward and are not engaged in trade but are used for the sole purpose of the owner.
  • Both types of Yachts are first registered provisionally for 6 months. During these 6 months (which may be extended), the documentation necessary for permanent registration must be finalised. Once permanent registration is completed, an annual fee must be paid each year on the anniversary of initial registration;
  • Get in touch with us so that we may assist you further on which option makes more sense for you, and to explain further what documentation is needed for registration.

5. Resident Agent Services

  • According to Maltese Law, international owners may own a Maltese ship or a share therein, however, if the same owner is not a resident in Malta, a “Resident Agent” habitually resident in Malta must be appointed to act on behalf of the international owner;
  • Here at DWP we can offer such a service to our clients in order to facilitate the process further. Such a position will allow us to sign and file applications on behalf of the international owner, pay fees and authenticate documents on behalf of the owner, among other matters.

Why you should choose us for Yacht Registration Malta

Our Yachting Team is composed of lawyers and tax specialists who can help you in the acquisition and registration of a yacht from all perspectives. As already explained above, our services include a wide range of matters, making the process more seamless for you. Our team also has an extensive network of colleagues in the yachting industry both in Malta and abroad which will ensure that any of your queries are addressed.

WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM OUR SERVICES

In terms of Maltese Law, Yachts may be registered on behalf of both individuals and legally constituted corporate bodies or entities irrespective of their nationality. Hence, this service is available for individuals or entities wishing to acquire and register yachts under the Maltese Flag, but even more so, for clients who have already engaged DWP for other services such as company formation. The fact that we offer a different range of services ensures that we can help with any matter which our clients may require.

Do not hesitate to get in touch with us so that we may be able to assist you further on the whole process.

WORKING WITH US - THE PROCESS

Get in touch with us and provide us with as much detail as possible of the services relating to yachting that you may need, be it registration, selling or acquiring a new yacht, or any other ancillary service. We will then assess each query on a case-by-case basis and provide you with the best way forward for your situation.

Do not hesitate to get in touch with us so that we may be able to assist you further on the whole process.

Key Contacts for Yacht Registration Malta

Dr. jur. Jörg Werner
Sarbrina Sauerborn

Frequently Asked Questions about Yacht Registration Malta

No, yachts may be registered on behalf of individuals or legally constituted corporate bodies or entities irrespective of nationality. If you are not resident in Malta, a Resident Agent will however need to be appointed – which service is offered by DWP. There are also no nationality restrictions for masters, officers and crew of the yacht.

No, the yacht may still be in the process of being built or equipped upon being provisionally registered. However, yacht owners need to finish the process and provide all necessary documentation to the Merchant Shipping Directorate in order for the yacht to be permanently registered.

The 2015 Commercial Yacht Code issued by the Maltese Merchant Shipping Directorate lays down all the features that are needed for a yacht to be registered as “commercial” under the same Code. Owners of yachts will need to appoint a Government Surveyor or a recognised Classification Society to go on board and inspect the yacht for an initial survey and check that the yacht is compliant with the Code. Here at DWP we can liaise with surveyors and guide you through the whole process so that your yacht may be surveyed to ensure that it can be classified as “commercial”.

The Maltese Flag is a reputable Flag, offering several advantages when compared with other Flags. The Registry is the largest in Europe and sixth largest in the World, and Malta has also entered the Paris MoU White Flag list this year. Company formation, ship registration and tonnage tax costs are lower compared to other countries, and several tax incentives are also in place. Furthermore, several maritime services exist, making Malta the ideal country to register your yacht.

Every yacht has different annual fees related to it depending on the size and type of yacht. To this end, we suggest that you get in touch with us so that we may be able to guide you further.

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