Ship Registration

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Ship Registration

Ship registration is the process by which a ship is documented and registered under the laws of a particular country, which is commonly known as the flag state. Ship registration serves as proof of ownership and nationality, and provides the ship with the legal right to fly the flag of the flag state.


Malta’s location in the heart of the Mediterranean has historically given it a great strategic importance as a naval base. Having been a maritime nation of repute, Malta’s strong legal and regulatory framework enabled it to become one of the largest and leading Ship Registries in the world. As a matter of fact, the Eight Cross Flag ranks first in Europe and sixth in the World.

Malta has developed heavily in state-of-the-art super yacht marinas and encouraging the creation of a number of on shore service-providers such as refitting yacht yards and yacht-management companies of the highest standard. The Eight Cross Flag’s registry is one of the largest registries in the world, so much so that it is also possible to register vessels which do not fall within the strict definition of a ship, such as oil-rigs, floating docks, pontoons, barges and also ships under construction.

Another important factor why ship owners are attracted to this tiny island in the heart of the Mediterranean is the freedom and flexibility when it comes to employing the crew. Contrary to other Flag States, the Malta flag does not impose any restrictions on the nationality of the master, officers and crew serving on board its ships.

Advantages of registering vessels under the Malta Flag:

  • Ships may be registered in the name of legally constituted corporate bodies or entities irrespective of nationality, or by a European Union citizen;
  • 24 hour, 7 days a week service;Reputable and internationally recognised ship register;
  • European Flag with a long maritime tradition;
  • On the White List of the Paris MoU and Tokyo MoU and on the Low Risk Ship List of the Paris MoU;
  • No nationality restrictions for master, officers and crew;
  • No trading restrictions and preferential treatment to Maltese Ships in certain ports;
  • No hidden costs and no inspection fees;
  • Customer service oriented approach that values long terms customer relationships;
  • Well-organised and highly responsive flag Administration with one of the largest registers in the world and very active in European Union fora and international organisations;
  • Maltese requirements well known to main shipyards and main classification societies;
  • Marriages can be officiated onboard Maltese ships;
  • A clear strategic political vision supporting business and the maritime industry;
  • Availability of a whole range of maritime services including very reputable and experienced legal and corporate services supporting registration, management and administration;
  • Backed up by a professional shipping registry that values long term customer relationships.


Ryan Ellul Advocates envisage to always place the client’s interest at the very centre of our service offering, we strike upon an efficient and effective service together with an innovative approach. The subject of innovation is not usually associated with the legal profession, but Ryan Ellul Advocates embraces the service of innovation. Traditionally law firms engage new partners in diverse disciplines, this firm has identified other means to expand their global reach. In this modern trend, being successful does no longer depend on the size of human or physical resources but it is all about having a solid and reliable network which delivers.

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