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Amendments to the Merchant Shipping Act


July 2016 saw the enforcement to the Merchant Shipping Act (MSA).

The provisions were made to embellish the previous Act to:

  • enhance the level of service provided;
  • further streamline the registration process; and
  • consolidate the provision of ancillary services.

The main amendments introduced by Legal Notice 210 of 2016 were:

  • the possibility of obtaining a Certificate of Malta Registry and its Renewal Certificate for a maximum period of 5 years for ships of minimum 500 gross tonnage;
  • the possibility of issuing the Certificate of Malta Registry on the name of the charterer or lessee, even if the vessel does not fall under article 19A of the MSA;
  • the possibility of registering a change in ownership after a merger, or by operation of the law, after signing a declaration; and
  • change of name of a bareboat charter registration of a ship in or out of Malta.

Through these amendments, Transport Malta (the local regulator) can proclaim the invalidity of a Certificate in the event of non-payment of the fees. This will prevent any interruption to the operation of vessels registered under the Malta flag thus ensuring the continuous validity of the Certificate of Registry, whilst avoiding penalties and/or closure of registry in terms of the MSA.

Furthermore, to issue and maintain an (Operational) Certificate of Malta Registry, the vessel must be in possession of all relevant valid international statutory certificates. If not, only a Non-Operational Certificate of Malta Registry shall be maintained on board the vessel.

Discover more about the maritime industry in Malta here.