Maritime | Yacht Ownership

In accordance with Malta’s Merchant Shipping Act a yacht shall not be eligible to fly the Malta flag unless it is owned in one of the following manners, namely:

  • By a citizen of Malta in his/her own name
  • Bodies corporate established or under the laws of Malta having their principal place of business in Malta
  • An EU citizen/entity or foreign individual/entity through the appointment of a resident agent

International Ownership

In accordance with Maltese law an international owner may in his own name or in the name of a foreign corporate entity recognized as having legal personality by the laws of the country under which it is established, own a Maltese registered yacht. In order to enable the ownership of a Maltese registered yacht through a foreign owner, Maltese law provides that the international owner must appoint a resident agent.

M. Demajo Maritime Services Limited is authorised to act and represent the owner, as resident agent, as required by law.

It shall be the function of M. Demajo Maritime Services Limited as resident agent to –

(a) act as the channel of communication between the international owner and Maltese government departments and authorities;

(b) sign and file with Maltese government departments and authorities, on behalf of the international owner, all declarations and forms required in terms of Maltese law;

(c) act as the judicial representative of the international owner for judicial proceedings in Malta, and any official notice sent to the resident agent at his last registered address shall be deemed to have been duly received by and notified to the international owner.

In the performance of its duties, M. Demajo Maritime Services Limited as resident agent shall have the power to –

(a) sign and file, on behalf of the international owner, applications, declarations, notices, returns and any other document required in terms of Maltese law;

(b) apply, on behalf of the international owner, for the registration of a ship under the Act and for the closure of register of a ship, and to perform any ancillary act in relation thereto;

(c) pay all relative fees and taxes payable in terms of Maltese law;

(d) do, on behalf of the international owner, all other things as may be considered conducive or ancillary for the registration of a ship under the Act or for the maintenance of such registration;

(e) do, on behalf of the international owner, all other things as may be considered conducive or ancillary for the cancellation of the registration of a ship under the Act;

(f) authenticate documents issued by the international owner.

Most frequently yachts owners are opting for the set up of corporate entities to own their yachts, whether these have been set up in Malta or elsewhere. Due to substantive fiscal advantages, it is most of the times recommended that commercial yachts flying the Malta flag should be owned by a Maltese Company, in order to benefit from Maltese fiscal exemptions.

Maltese Company Formation

The setting up of a company in Malta is a simple procedure which involves the submission of a memorandum and articles of association of the Company and all ancillary documents as may be required from the Registry of Companies in accordance with the specific shareholding of the company. The Malta Financial Services Authority is very efficient and the procedure is usually effected within a time-frame of 48 hours, unless further proof or documentation is required.

Maltese law provides for different corporate vehicles including the formation of trusts in order to own and manage a yacht. Furthermore, Maltese law does not provide any limitation in the nationality of the shareholder in the company and requires the basic minimum documentation as proof of international shareholding entities within a Maltese corporate structure.

Fiduciary Services

In recognition of the ever increasing importance given to non-disclosure of beneficial ownership identity, M. Demajo has seen the necessity to set up a duly authorised company solely aimed at providing fiduciary and nominee services to beneficial owners who wish to maintain their identity disclosed. In order to maintain complete anonymity as well as to manage and direct the everyday running of the company and the yacht. M. Demajo Maritime Services Limited may conjunctly with the nominee company act as director of the Maltese company thus offering complete disclosure and no exterior connection with the beneficial owner.

Through clear arrangements made with the company the owner shall at all times have the full control over any future transfer or benefits derived from the shares of the company, and shall at all times be considered the de facto beneficial owner.

We will be pleased to inform you further on the best solutions available and the different procedures and security documents we utilize to ensure safe operations and peace of mind throughout the entire operation.