Study Reports a Steady Growth in Malta Ship Registration

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A Maltese maritime consultancy firm has issued the third edition of a study giving a comparative breakdown of the costs involved in the registration of a vessel. The scope of the publication is to benchmark registration rates applicable to a selected number of flag states, subjectively determined to be Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Liberia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Norway and Panama. The study has extended the comparison to comprise pertinent criteria such as manning scales, the issue of registering mortgages and registration of bareboat chartered vessels amongst others. Various flag administrations have supported the study’s publication by contributing facts and figures. The Malta flag has grown considerably from 1,421 vessels under its registry in 2007, to 1,764 ships in 2012, with a registered gross tonnage of 44 million tons, making the Malta flag the seventh largest flag of registry on a worldwide level.

The study evidences the policy direction undertaken by the Malta Flag Authority, to enhance the standing of its registry by attracting younger tonnage and making it more expensive for older tonnage to register. The average age of the vessels under Maltese registry, which in 2012 represented the lowest recorded locally, is of 11 years against 16 years in 2007. The flag having the oldest fleet is that of Greece.

The publication concentrates on fundamental aspects when registering a vessel. These include the economical, fiscal, operational and political facets to ship registration. Other relevant considerations are the reputation of the flag at an international level, the freedom of trading to any geographical region as well as the professionalism of the flag administration.