Registering a Small Ship under the Maltese Flag

  Registering a Small Ship under the Maltese Flag

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CSB Group assists clients throughout the entire process of Registering a Small Ship under the Maltese Flag, among other shipping services.

What is a ‘Small Ship’?

A Small Ship is defined under the Small Ship Regulations (Subsidiary Legislation 499.52 of the Laws of Malta) (hereinafter the ‘Regulations’) as a craft under twenty-four (24) metres in length employed solely in the navigation within the territorial waters of Malta, whether mechanically driven or not, and whether privately or commercially used. In view of this definition, examples of Small Ships may include sailing boats, yachts, fishing vessels, and other craft used for fishing like caiques, luzzijiet and frejgatini, cabin cruisers, speedboats, jet skis, dinghies, passage boats and other Maltese traditional boats, paddle-boats, canoes, personal watercraft, and air cushioned crafts amongst others.

Registration of Small Ships

A Small Ship or Boat must be registered with the Authority for Transport in Malta, Transport Malta (hereinafter the ‘Authority’) in order to be used in the internal and territorial waters of Malta, unless the Small Ship is already registered under the Merchant Shipping Act, or under the Fisheries Conservation and Management Act, or unless such Small Ship is registered or documented to the satisfaction of the Authority under the law of any other country other than Malta.

A Small Ship or Boat will only be in a position to be registered with the Maltese Flag provided it is equipped with certain safety equipment as may be required by the Authority from time to time.

There are certain Small Ships which are exempted from registration under the Regulations such as canoes and open sailing dinghies without engines and not exceeding 5.2 metres in length which are for personal use only and not used in a commercial manner.

Marking of a Small Ship

Every Small Ship has a distinguished number and mark assigned to it which must be displayed on the Small Ship in such a manner as directed by the Authority according to the class to which the Small Ship belongs.

The registered owner of a Small Ship must ensure that within thirty (30) days of the date on which the registration of that Small Ship takes effect the registration mark is clearly painted or affixed to an external surface of the Small Ship (or on such other part of the Small Ship which the Authority may approve). The owner of the Small Ship must also make sure that such markings are legible and in a good condition and renewed when necessary during the period of registration of the Small Ship.

A Small Ship without such identification letters and numbers assigned shall be deemed, for all intents and purposes, as being unregistered, and as a result, the Authority may order that the ship be removed and taken into custody.

Application for Registration

An application for registration must be made in writing and should specify such particulars relating to the Small Ship and its ownership to show that the Small Ship is one to which the Regulations apply.

Once the Authority receives the application and is satisfied that the Small Ship may properly be registered it will proceed to register the Small Ship and subsequently furnish a certificate to the registered owner or agent thereof.
We, CSB Group, may assist with the filing of an application for registration.

Transfer of ownership of a Small Ship

A person who decides to sell, or sells, scraps or otherwise disposes of his Small Ship or any engine must within seven (7) days, give notice thereof to the Authority giving the particulars and information of the person buying the Small Ship and/or any of its engines and shall return his Certificate of Registry back to the Authority.

An application for the registration of a transfer of a Small Ship or any of its engines by a new owner must be made to the Authority within seven (7) days of the purchase or transfer thereof. This application form is to be accompanied with all relevant ancillary documentation; we may naturally assist with any such application and liaise with Transport Malta as may be necessary.

Voluntary Termination of Registration of a Small Ship

Should the owner of a Small Ship wish to close the register of such Small Ship, he would have to submit an application to the Authority, giving all such particulars and information as the Authority may require for the purpose. Once again, you may contact our legal professionals who would be in a position to assist with any such application for deletion.

Modifications to a Small Ship

The owner of a Small Ship must obtain the written approval of the Authority prior to making any modifications of the hull of the small or ship or installing or replacing any of its engines. The Authority may order that a survey by a Surveyor of ships be carried out in order to certify whether the Small Ship is sea-worthy following the modifications.

Should you have any questions or require any clarifications regarding the above, please get in touch with us on [email protected] so that one of our professionals can guide and advise you further.

Key Contacts

Edward Meli

Manager - Legal

Luana Agius

Legal Advisor



I have been using CSB Group in Malta to register our company and our ship under the Malta flag, and have always been completely satisfied with their performance. They do an excellent job, are always punctual, and offer the most competitive rates in Europe! A young and Smart team! We have also involved them on occasion for extra legal jobs, and recently I am using their accounting service to fulfil the VAT requirement and to complete our balance sheets. I'm happy to recommend the services of CSB Group.

Paolo Orlandi

Kite Investimenti Limited of Cyclos II

This is to express my absolute satisfaction in my dealings with Sacha Farrugia in the process of opening my company over the last few weeks. I was really blown away with their level of professionalism and customer service. They went above and beyond to ensure that all of my questions and curiosities were met and understood, and their level of knowledge was excellent. I would have no problem recommending your company to others in the future and will continue to use your services myself.

Phoenix Classic Charters Limited


Need our assistance with shipping & yachting services?

CSB Group is authorised by the MFSA to register vessels under the Maltese flag in terms of the Company Service Providers Act, 2013. Get support from our specialised professionals.

Smarter business
starts here.

T: +356 2557 2557

F: +356 2557 2558

E: [email protected]

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