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 Malta Flag Yacht Registration

  Malta Flag Yacht Registration

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Backed by our expertise, high level of service, our dedication as well as our contacts within the super yacht industry in Malta, CSB Group is uniquely able to offer an integrated service for our clients’ yachting requirements. As a one-stop shop, CSB Group is one of the Malta-based specialists in yacht services with the necessary expertise to handle a variety of services including the registration under the Malta Flag. Under the Malta Flag a yacht may be registered as a Private yacht or a Commercial yacht.

Yachting in Malta

Malta has, for years, been a maritime nation of repute. Its strategic location in the centre of the Mediterranean, natural harbours and extensive range of maritime services such as shipbuilding and repair, Freeport, bunkering, ship supplies and towage services have contributed to making Malta a leading maritime hub. The island’s location has given it great strategic importance and Malta is now recognised as being an entree-port to the EU.

Besides offering world-class berthing facilities to the superyacht industry, Malta offers yacht owners several attractive solutions. As a one-stop-shop, CSB Group, via their dedicated team can provide the required professional and dedicated assistance on temporary importation, onward supply relief, commercial yacht registration and VAT-efficient finance leasing structures to name a few.

Notably, there are two main types of yacht registrations under Maltese Law; one may either register their yacht as a pleasure yacht wherein the yacht could be used for personal reasons or for charters within Maltese territorial waters, or else one may alternatively register their yacht as a commercial yacht wherein the yacht could be used for commercial reasons including the option of sailing and chartering outside Malta’s territorial waters.

As of the end of December 2020, there were a total of 4630 yachts under the length of 24m registered under the Merchant Shipping Act. The number of Superyachts over 24m in length flying the Malta flag has increased from the previous year by 6.6% to a total of 859 Superyachts. Malta continues to maintain its position as a leader in ship and boat registration, as the largest register in Europe, as well as the 6th largest register in the world in terms of gross tonnage.

The benefits of registering a yacht under the Malta flag

  • Competitive yacht registration costs;
  • Low company formation and registration costs;
  • Attractive tax incentives to yachts and superyachts owners encouraging commercial operation;
  • No restrictions on the nationality of the master, officers and crew, serving on Maltese vessels;
  • No restrictions on the nationality of shareholders and directors of Maltese shipping companies;
  • No restrictions on the sale and mortgaging of Maltese registered yachts;
  • No trading restrictions
  • Straightforward Registration Process;
  • Serious and efficient maritime administration;
  • Flag state inspectorate to ensure adherence to international standards;
  • A sovereign state, member of the European Union with political, fiscal and social stability;
  • A dynamic registration with one of the largest ship registers in the world and very active in EU for and international organisation such as the IMO;
  • Easy access to decision-makers within the competent authorities, backed by a qualified and efficient team of technical officers available for urgent matters on a 24-hour basis.

Malta Yacht Registration Process

The CSB Group team of advisors provides full support throughout the whole process required to register a yacht in Malta.

1. Submission of Documents

The CSB Group team will assist you from start to finish to successfully obtain a permanent registration certificate smoothly and efficiently. As your advisors, we would act as an intermediary between yourself and Transport Malta to draft certain documents and submit all the documents required to complete the two-step registration process, consisting first in obtaining a Provisional Certificate of Malta Registry, valid for six (6) months, and subsequently a Permanent Certificate of Malta Registry. 

2. Provisional Registration

After the necessary initial documentation is provided to Transport Malta, if the application for registration of a yacht under the Maltese flag is to the satisfaction of the authority, a Provisional Certificate of Malta Registry will be issued against payment of the relative fee, which shall be valid for a period of six months (subject to further renewal). The same Authority will immediately communicate to the indicated classification society requesting inspection with a view to the issue of the relative documentation (if required).

3. Permanent Registration

Once provisionally registered, for permanent registration to be obtained, we would assist in submitting any additional original documentation required by the Transport Malta during the term within which the yacht holds the provisional registration certificate. 

In the event that the vessel has not been permanently registered after a year, registration must commence anew and the appropriate forms re-submitted and fees paid anew. Additional specific requirements may be imposed by the Transport Malta. Once obtained, the Permanent Certificate of Malta Registry is renewable on an annual basis from the date of initial registration at a fee, which we can also assist with as owner representative and/or resident agents.

Ancillary Yacht Services

Yacht Financing

Through a healthy working relationship with an independent and licensed European yacht leasing company, CSB Group is able to offer support in relation to obtaining a financial or operating lease for the purpose of completing the financing of yachts.

Tax Structuring & Administration

Structuring of tax efficient yacht owning framework.

Co-ordination of Temporary Importation Procedure

This procedure enables yacht owners, who are non-EU residents and whose yachts do not fly a Maltese flag, to stay within the EU and move freely within EU territorial waters for a period of 18 months. 

During these 18 months, the yacht can move freely with no further customs formalities and should the boat be laid up for any period of time it is also possible to disregard such laid up period for the purpose of reckoning the 18-month period. After such period however, the yacht would need to be exported out of the EU. In such a procedure, customs duties or VAT are not paid on the value of the yacht. 

Notably, should you opt to avail of this procedure, the Customs Authority in Malta will require the provision of a security or guarantee to cover the payment of the customs duties and VAT which would become due if the yacht does not leave EU territory.

Change in Registration Type with the Malta Flag

We can also assist in changing from the type of registration the yacht has been registered under the Malta Flag. Notably, changing from a commercial registration to a pleasure one would be a smoother transaction since there are less criteria to be satisfied for a yacht to be registered for private use. On the other hand, we may assist with change a pleasure registration to a commercial one, provided that the yacht is of 15 metres in length or more but not more than 3000 gross tonnes, does not carry cargo, carries not more than 12 passengers and is operated by the owner or body corporate owning the yacht for commercial use. In this regard, the Malta Commercial Yacht Registration considers the following classes of yachts

  1. Yachts in commercial use of not less than 15 metres in length and not more than 24 metres;
  2. Superyachts in commercial use of more than 24 metres in length and less than 500 gross tonnes; and
  3. Superyachts in commercial use of more than 24 metres in length and 500 gross tonnes and over but less than 3000 gross tonnes. 

Upon satisfaction of the above criteria, we will assist in the sorting out of all necessary elements for obtaining the commercial yacht certification, once the Commercial Certificate of Survey and the International Tonnage Certificate have been duly issued by the surveyor. This includes liaison with the registration and technical departments at Transport Malta in order to progress with the issuance of the Commercial Certificate of Registry. Simultaneously, we will also assist in liaison with the radio licencing department at Transport Malta to enquire whether anything would need updating considering the change in registration.

Yacht Certification

Sorting out of all necessary elements for commercial yacht certification.

Documentation Reviews

Evaluation of various documentation, including amongst others loan and security agreements, sale and purchase agreements, and mortgages..

Statutory Mortgage Deeds Procedures

Registration, amendments, transfer & discharge of contracts registered over Malta registered yachts.

Enforcement of Claims

Against Malta registered yachts or within Maltese territorial waters.

Crewing & Compliance Regulations

Handling on-going formalities with the relevant Maltese authorities. Importantly, commercial superyachts (more than 24 meters long) require a Minimum Safe Manning Certificate while commercial yachts (less than 24 meters long) are not required to obtain said certificate, but must adhere to the manning requirements found in the Commercial Yacht Code. Furthermore, foreign certificates in respect of the STCW 78 Convention need an endorsement from the local administration. 

On another note, the crewing of Maltese yachts is extremely flexible as it does not impose restrictions on the nationality of the crew (including master and officers). 

Deletion from Registry

When the owner of a Maltese registered ship or yacht wishes to effect a transfer to a foreign registry, an application to this effect would need to be sent to Transport Malta, accompanied by a number of documents as requested by the authority, which application we can assist with from start to finish to ensure a smooth process in the attainment of a Deletion Certificate from the Malta Registry.

Naturally, if you have any questions or clarifications please do not hesitate to contact us on [email protected] and should you seek to engage us to assist you with the above, we would be able to guide and advise you further with a step-by-step procedure on what would be required in terms of due diligence, fees and the overall process.

Key Contacts

Edward Meli

Manager - Legal

Luana Agius

Legal Advisor



"We have used CSB Group's Yachting Services in Malta and we would like to highlight the team's professionalism and reliability throughout the registration process of our vessel. We were very pleased and very appreciative of the great availability of the staff to help us and answer our questions."

Stephanie Butikofer

Tikiaora Inc Limited of Tikiaora

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]

Get in Touch with NAME

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