Maltese flag, Malta Yacht and Ship Registration | Audit and Advisory Services Malta | Griffiths + Associates

Maltese flag, Malta Yacht and Ship Registration

Our legal team provides advisory services to legal persons and individuals wishing to register any type of vessels – pleasure and commercial yachts, oilrigs, platforms under the Maltese Flag.

Also, we can assist in the providing the necessary services in connection with all the formalities in registering a vessel with Transport Malta and acquiring a Valletta flag for such vessel.

Main advantages of the Malta flag:

  1. Maltese flag is the flag of confidence, it is largest in Europe and 6th largest in the World;
  2. Malta is a social, fiscal, political stable country, with well-regulated jurisdiction;
  3. Сompetitive ship registration costs and uncomplicated and efficient procedure for registration and deletion of Maltese vessels, as well as for the registration and discharge of mortgages;
  4. Ship registration not strictly limited to ships; registration of other vessels such as oilrigs, platforms and barges, is permitted;
  5. Ship registration under construction and mortgages over such vessel is permitted;
  6. Yacht does not need to visit Malta physically, if it is registered in Malta;
  7. Malta has no nationality restrictions for the ship owners and crew members;
  8. No minimum manning policy for private yachts;
  9. No trading restrictions;
  10. No restrictions on the sale and mortgaging of Maltese registered ships;
  11. Attractive tax incentives to yachts and superyachts owners encouraging commercial operation – reduced VAT rate for short-term yacht chartering taking place in Malta.
  12. Licensed shipping organisations are exempt from income tax. Using efficient tonnage tax system;

Yacht Registration Malta: Sail under the Maltese flag. 

Once you have bought a boat, you are probably looking forward to sailing along the Med to visit all those European coastal resorts and towns you’ve always wanted to visit.

However, there is more to owning a boat than just buying it and sailing it. You need to think carefully about the jurisdiction you are going to register your boat in.

Malta is one of the most popular choices for boat owners, but is it right for you? In the following post, we will look at some important things you should know before registering your new yacht under the Maltese flag.

Malta Is A EU Member And Compliant With EU Directives.

As a member state of the EU, Maltese regulations and laws all fall in line with directives established by the EU and is signed most of the UN, ILO and IMO international conventions.

Further to this though, Malta has, even more, to give for yacht registration in Malta. It is now a very reputable financial and business centre, thanks to its social, fiscal and governmental stability. With a strong maritime heritage, it has great facilities at the natural harbours it has and a very skilled and diligent group of workers in this industry. So not only is it well placed but is sufficiently equipped for dealing with boating activity, another reason to register your yacht in Malta.

As well as being a respected and internationally-recognised jurisdiction, the country also has a number of positive attributes that set it apart from others as a good choice for yacht registration in Malta. Such as:

  • Strong legal infrastructure that offers a high level of security for those involved in finance
  • VAT and tax benefits
  • Low costs for vessel tonnage and registration and company formation
  • It is on the Paris MOU white list
  • Offering the opportunity to mortgage or sell super-yachts and yachts registered in Malta
  • No restrictions on trading of any kind

Lack of Limitations

There only a few limitations in place for Maltese boat ownership and registration.

Anyone, for instance, can own a boat in Malta, as long as they are an EU citizen or have a business registered in any member state of the EU.

The nationality of the crew, officers, master or anyone else responsible for manning the boat is not restricted and you are not restricted to sail to any posts across to the world.

If you are interested in using your boat commercially along the Med, yacht registration with Malta will give you the necessary EU footprint to make it easy to obtain a charter license.


Malta provides boat owners with a number of tax benefits and a very competitive scheme for leasing pleasure boats, such as tax exemptions and VAT reductions.

As outlined in the Merchant Shipping Act, a stamp duty exemption is in place on the tonnage of your registered tonnage tax ship.

This means you do not have to pay stamp duty if you transfer or sell your tonnage tax ship. It is also worth noting that operating or using a commercial boat that makes money is not liable for income tax.

That is, providing that you pay the annual registration charge and tonnage tax.

Even if a commercial boat is not exempt, it could still benefit from the low 3% income tax rate. Further to this, foreign income tax generated on the boat’s commercial activities may be available in the form of a credit to income tax liable to pay in Malta, meaning that the rate is reduced to as low as 0%.

There is a special VAT regime in Malta, which gives charter boats commencing in Malta for less than 90 days reduced VAT when part of the charters includes non-EU territorial waters. When a boat is used on the sea commercially there is no Malta VAT on the boat’s value, and there are VAT exemption/-refunds available for any services and goods purchased for chartering operations on a commercial boat.

Additional Benefits

Further to the fiscal and jurisdictional benefits registering your yacht in Malta could mean that you receive the following additional benefits:

  • Fast and efficient system for registering
  • Registry that can be contacted 24/7
  • Option to register any vessel, from an oil rig to pleasure boat
  • Option to register either as a commercial or private pleasure boat
  • Option to register boats as equipped or under construction
  • Access to cabotage in the EU when flying the Maltese flag
  • High quality, reputable, credible and secure registry
  • Option to register boats on the behalf of legal corporate entities and bodies, regardless of their nationality
  • For more information on the services provided by Griffiths + Associates have a look at our website.

Our company’s mission – to provide quality financial services to our esteemed local and international clients, keeping their needs at the centre of our ethos; going the extra mile to efficiently and effectively assist them in growing and fulfilling their business and personal needs.

Peter Griffiths – Managing and Tax Director
Peter Griffiths
Managing and Tax Director, Griffiths + Associates
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