A passenger yacht is defined as a yacht which carries more than 12 passengers on board. These yachts differ from commercial yachts due to different dimensions and capacity in the carriage of persons. It may seem that passenger yachts are more similar to ships rather than yachts; however, their scope of operation is different and cannot be considered as proper ships or cruise-liners, since they are intended to accommodate smaller numbers of guests.
Passenger yachts fall within the definition of passenger ships in terms of the SOLAS Convention and are therefore subject to the regulations therein contained. Any flag state knowledgeable of the industry will admit that such vessels require particular attention.
In addition to the requirements for provisional and permanent registration stated above International Safety Management (ISM) and International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) certificates issued on behalf of the Malta flag will be required if the passenger yacht is over 500GT. Failure to comply would lead to the vessel’s arrest and detention and heavy fines being levied.
In terms of the ISM Code a Document of Compliance (DOC) has to be issued, which is done in the following manner:
A request is made to a Recognised Organisation (RO)
A RO has to be selected from a list which is provided by the Maltese Authority known as MSD Notice 48
The RO will then authorise the Maltese Authority to make an audit and issue the Company with the relevant DOC
Once DOC is finalised the ship has to carry out an audit
The Maltese Authority is once more requested to give authorisation for the audit to take place
Consequently a Ship Management Certificate (SMC) is issued to the ship showing the name of the Manager
The Maltese Authority will require the above documents in order to issue a Certificate of Permanent Registration for a Passenger Yacht.
Furthermore, an ISM Code Declaration demonstrating that the yacht is compliant with the ISM Code is required to be filed with the Authority. Once stamped it is to be kept on vessel together with other certificates.