The abidance by the Maltese Authorities of high standards of safety in line with major international conventions and standards established by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has solidified the flag’s reputation among the yachting industry and has contributed to the increase of the yachting fleet. Malta has recognized the diverse nature and operation of commercial yachts and has fashioned ad hoc legislation to cater for safety measures in the operation of commercial yachts. To this effect, Subsidiary Legislation 234.45 on Merchant Shipping (Certification of Commercial Yachts and Commercial Cruising Vessels) Regulations determines that in accordance with Maltese law a commercial yacht flying the Malta flag may only operate if it is properly certified as being in compliance with the provisions of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea signed in London on the 1st November, 1974 (SOLAS) including any amendment or Protocol related thereto as well as the International Convention on Load Lines signed in London on the 5th April 1966 (Load Line Convention) including any amendment or Protocol related thereto.
In order to accommodate the particular characteristics of commercial yachts the Maltese Administration has well thought of establishing a specific code of practice relating to the construction, equipment and operation of commercial yachts. To this effect, the Malta Commercial Yacht Code was launched in 2006 and was developed in accordance with the standards established by the industry, rendering the Malta flag a more attractive option for commercial registration. The provisions of the Malta Commercial Yacht Code, which cover the requirements for yachts below and above 24 meters in length, have proved to be highly valuable and attractive within the industry.
In 2010, in recognition of the ever developing nature and standards of the industry, Malta has revamped and revised the provisions of the Malta Commercial Yacht Code in order to enhance its validity in respect of the implementation of new marine technology as well as to ensure that the needs of larger yachts endorsing the Malta flag are balanced with the most recent international standards of safety.
The IMO through IMO LL.3/Circ.172 of 7 November 2007 and IMO SLS.14/Circ.298 of the 8th November 2007 has confirmed that the Malta Commercial Yacht Code sets the required standards of safety and pollution prevention which are appropriate for yachts. The IMO stated that the standards applied in the Malta Commercial Yacht Code are those set by relevant International Conventions, EU norms or equivalent standards.
As established by the IMO the Malta Commercial Yacht Code abides with EU standards, in particular with the Marine Equipment Directive, EU Directive 1996/98/EC. Furthermore, the Maltese administration vows to ensure that the Malta Commercial Yacht Code will continuously be revised in accordance with and in the light of the evolving nature of the industry and the experience gained by the administration. Malta has through the progressive attitude of its maritime administration been able to service the best interests of the industry.
In order to safeguard the prevailing interest into safe yacht operation, the Maltese Authority has recently established a Marine Safety Investigation Unit (MSIU) responsible for the conduct of safety investigations into the occurrence of marine accidents on board Maltese registered vessels worldwide and foreign flagged vessels within Maltese territorial and internal waters. The role of the MSIU is to identify the accident circumstances, safety issues of relevance to the maritime industry for the prevention of maritime transport accidents and incidents, and, where necessary, to recommend safety actions in relation to the same.
Maltese law has adopted the measures contained in Directive 2009/18/EC governing the investigation of accidents in the maritime transport sector, which came into force on 17 June 2011 and the IMO Casualty Investigation Code, which entered into force on 01 January 2010.
Maltese law implements Council Directive 92/29/EEC of the 31st March 1992 on the minimum safety and health requirements for improved medical treatment on board vessels. Commercial yachts, in accordance with the area of operation in which they are designed to operate should maintain adequate medical stores on board in order to ensure the seaworthy and safe operation of the yacht.
Furthermore proper sanitary inspections may need to be undertaken before the yacht travels to particular EU ports.
We at Bencini Demajo will be pleased to guide you with the appropriate tasks and procedures required to ensure that your yacht is fully compliant with all the legal and technical requirements, and ensure the enjoyment of your yacht with the maximum standards of safety on board.