Maritime sector in Malta

Vessel registration under the Malta Flag and the operation of Maltese ships is regulated by the Merchant Shipping Act of 1973.

A law based in the main on the United Kingdom legislation but subsequently revised and amended in 1986, 1988, 1990, 2000 and 2010. The main legislation is supplemented by a comprehensive set of rules and regulations.

Advantages of Registering a vessel under the Maltese Flag 

  • Low company formation and ship registration fees
  • Low tonnage tax
  • Licensed Shipping Organisations are exempt from income tax
  • No restrictions or taxation on the sale or transfer of shares of a company owning Maltese registered ships
  • Reduced compliance requirements for certain types of licensed shipping organisations
  • No restrictions on the nationality of the ship owner
  • No restrictions on the nationality of the master, officers and crew
  • No trading restrictions
  • An effective mortgage system

Yachting in Malta

Malta offers an initiative which, depending on the size of the yacht and the method of propulsion, may reduce the effective VAT rate applicable on the acquisition of a vessel for private use to as low as 5.4%.

This initiative is based on the use and enjoyment principles of VAT, in terms of which Maltese VAT is only applied on the portion of use of the yacht which is deemed to take place within EU territorial waters.