Malta Ship Registration and Finance


Malta owes much of its historical development to its strategic location in the centre of the Mediterranean, its natural harbours and its extensive range of maritime services including specialised ship repair, excellent freeport facilities, bunkering services, ship supplies and towage services.

Today, the Maltese flag has earned the confidence of several reputable ship owners, ship financiers and ship management companies as attested by the increasing registered tonnage. As at end of June 2008, the total number of Malta-flagged vessels was nearing the 5,000 mark with a total gross tonnage of over 32 million tonnes and an average age of 16.72 years. The current registered tonnage makes Malta the eighth largest maritime flag in the world and the second largest in Europe.

The Maltese Merchant Shipping Act (the “Act”) largely based on its English counterpart, principally governs the registration and operation of vessels. The Merchant Shipping Directorate (“MSD”) at Transport Malta (TM), commonly referred to as the Malta Ship registry, is responsible for the registration of vessels under the Malta flag and the provision of all aspects of the on-going administration of Malta-flagged vessels.

In its constant efforts towards promoting the Maltese flag as a flag of choice, the MSD has undertaken several initiatives to ensure the reputation of the Maltese maritime flag, and it has appointed inspectors worldwide to conduct ship safety inspections onboard Maltese registered vessels on a regular basis, ensuring full and rigorous compliance with all applicable Maltese regulations and international treaties. Indeed, Malta is a party to most major IMO and International Labour Organisation conventions.