Strategically located in a crossroads between three continents, Malta has established itself as a leading maritime centre offering an array of services and facilities to the marine industry. This, combined with Malta’s reputation of an experienced, reliable and efficient shipping jurisdiction, has positioned Malta as the largest ship register in the European Union and the sixth largest in the world. In addition to being party to numerous international conventions and regulations for the uses of the Sea and continental shelf, Malta is in the White-List of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control. Hence, ships flying the Malta Flag are less likely to be detained in ports for breach of international conventions.
Malta’s Maritime & Shipping Sector
The maritime services sector has celebrated circa four decades of unprecedented success, with its fanfare dating back even before the accomplishments of Malta’s financial services, gaming and insurance industries. Malta boasts a long maritime tradition, emanating from the islands’ colourful history, modern facilities and reputation as a highly regulated country. Malta’s shipping register’s success is also supported by numerous, reputable shipping-related service providers, including maritime lawyers, agents, brokers, insurers, accountants and banks offering comprehensive services to owners and operators of ships worldwide. With the recent introduction of new legislation enabling clients to set up ship management entities in Malta, the country has now completed its offering in this area.
Shipping in Malta
Deemed as a very accessible jurisdiction, Malta, unlike other jurisdictions, does not impose restrictions on the type of vessels which can be registered under its flag thus giving a number of ship owners the possibility of registering unconventional vessels under the Malta flag.
From an ownership and operational perspective, Malta also provides an array of tax efficient solutions. A Malta shipping organisation may be set up with the main purpose of owing the ship and subsequently being registered as the owner of the vessel. As an additional bonus to better accessibility, these shipping organisations benefit from various fiscal advantages.
Indeed, Malta presents significant tax advantages through its tonnage tax regime whereby qualifying ships (tonnage tax ships) pay a fixed tonnage tax fee and in turn the Malta ship owning/operator company is totally exempt from paying tax on income from shipping activities relating to the ship. Other benefits apply including: an exemption from tax on the distribution of profits derived from shipping activities to the shareholders and an exemption from the payment of stamp duty on the disposal of shares in a licensed shipping organisation that owns, charters, operates, administers or manages a tonnage tax ship.
Our Malta Shipping Team
Experienced in all facets of the Shipping industry, Chetcuti Cauchi assists and represents individual or corporate clients throughout different stages of vessel ownership. This includes:
Chetcuti Cauchi holds strong links with all sectors of shipping and maritime law and the firm has specialised lawyers, accountants and tax consultants in all maritime-related fields of law including ship finance, litigation and admiralty, and is the preferred maritime law firm for banks, other financial institutions and ship-owners seeking the most effective and advantageous financing.