22nd February | Christian Farrugia

Shipping & Aviation in Malta – Plain sailing with ARQ

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22nd February | Christian Farrugia

Shipping & Aviation in Malta – Plain sailing with ARQ

Over the past decades Malta has developed a very strong legal and regulatory platform that has enabled the Maltese Shipping Flag to become a reputable international ship register which is now established as the largest Registry in the EU and 6th largest in the world. More recently, Malta has developed specific legislation that takes into account the distinctive requirements of the yacht and superyacht industry.

Malta’s established reputation as a solid jurisdiction for maritime services, has extended also to the aviation sector where the Maltese Government has, over the course of the past years, undertaken and implemented several initiatives aimed at strengthening the aviation sector. Such initiatives included, amongst other things, the introduction of the Aircraft Registration Act, which came into force on 1st October 2010 and the implementation of new procedures in various Government departments with the aim of facilitating the registration of aircraft under the 9H-Registry.


Some of the key benefits of registering a Ship, Yacht or Aircraft in Malta include:
  • Malta is a well regulated and stable EU Member State where local authorities transact in the English language;
  • Low vessels/aircraft and company registration costs;
  • Registrations are regulated by Transport Malta (TM) who provide a 24/7 service to ship/yacht/aircraft owners and financiers, in respect of urgent matters;
  • The procedure for the registration of ships/yachts/aircrafts in Malta is well defined and straightforward;
  • Bareboat charter registration (both inwards and outwards) is also permitted and a certificate of registry may be issued in the name of the vessel’s charterer;
  • Owners, charterers and financiers of Maltese ships/yachts may benefit from highly favorable tax rates on profits derived from the ownership, sale, operation and charter of Maltese ships;
  • No restrictions on the sale or mortgaging of a vessel registered in Malta or on the transfer of shares of a Maltese company owning such vessel;
  • There are no restrictions on the nationality of the Master, officers and crew of ship/yachts registered under the Malta flag;
  • Maltese ships/yachts benefit from preferential treatment in certain ports;
  • It is possible to register vessels which are still under construction as well as other marine structures which do not fall within the strict definition of ships such as oilrigs, floating docks, pontoons and barges;
  • No shipping trading restrictions;
  • Malta is a party to the major international maritime conventions;


ARQ has an experienced team in this industry sector to assist vessel and aircraft owners, managers and financiers with a range of services such as:

  • Local registration under the Maltese flag for personal or commercial purposes;
  • Ship & aircraft financing and mortgage registration requirements;
  • Bareboat Charter registration;
  • Acting as Local Resident Agent for Foreign Owned Ships/Yachts/Aircraft;
  • Advising on various forms of security over vessels/aircrafts;
  • Advice on the licensing of Private Maritime Security Companies;
  • Ship/Yacht Crew Endorsement Applications;\
  • Ship/Yacht/Aircraft Charter and Leasing (advise on Malta’s yacht leasing programmes;
  • Ship/Yacht/Aircraft Sales and Purchases;
  • Assistance in maritime and aviation litigation including the arrest of vessels and aircraft, passenger and cargo claims, collision and pollution claims, enforcement of mortgages and judicial sales by auction;
  • Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) applications;


ARQ assists its clients in these sectors by tapping into the infrastructure and expertise of Fenech Farrugia Fiott Legal, a founding partner of ARQ and a leading legal practice operating in both the maritime and aviation industry sectors of Malta with a long-standing reputation of excellence.


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