Malta: Continuously Striving To Obtain Higher Standards

The Malta Ship Registry's policy has long been "quality shipping and ensuring that ships with a poor detention or safety and marine pollution record do not operate under the Malta flag".  The Merchant Shipping Directorate has always been steadfast in this respect.

In the last couple of decades health and safety standards on board vessels have been very much championed. The Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, sought to consolidate international labour standards related to the maritime sector in order to better safeguard seafarers and, indirectly, protect the health and safety of seafarers on board vessels.  In this manner, minimum enforceable and binding rules with regards to conditions of work are uniformly applicable to seafarers working on board commercial vessels.  Malta ratified this Convention, and transposed the rules into its local legislation in 2013.  Minimum rules regarding health and medical access, leave rights and, discharge and repatriation must be stringently adhered to.   The Convention is nowadays deemed to be an important pillar of international quality shipping together with other safety related conventions of the International Maritime Organization.  

In addition, the Maltese Commercial Yacht Code (last updated in 2015) also provides for an overview of minimum provisions in line with international law and industry standards with regards to yachts over fifteen metres.  This Code refers to general rules regarding the structure of the yachts but also makes reference to the Convention, and other provisions protecting personnel.  Both sources also govern minimum safe manning and crew certification.   

Pleasure vessels are governed by local legislation and minimum rules regarding seafarers' rights still apply.  Therefore, it is important that all crew on board vessels are registered and regularly employed in accordance with such rules.  It is in the interest of the vessel owner to abide by legislation and rules in this regard, not only because they are legally binding on the owner as the employer but more importantly because the rules raise the working environment of seafarers.  This in turn acts as a catalyst for raising the quality of seafarers and attracting people to the profession.  Furthermore, health and safety standards inherent to these rules safeguard both the seafarers and the general condition and standard of the vessel which in turn influences the business or operation taking place on board.

Therefore, the aspect of safe manning and employment engagement should be kept in mind by all concerned as an inherent part of the requirements that need to be satisfied for a ship or yacht to be registered under the Malta maritime flag.  GM International Services Limited, a subsidiary of Economicard Group, is the largest and longest established ship registration services company in Malta.  With forty years of experience, GMI remains Malta's premier ship registration company.  Our services span all aspects of, and go beyond, ship and yacht registration.  Services range from leasing and chartering arrangements, agency services, clearing of vessels with customs, dry-docking and other repairs, ship husbandry, and bunkering, and crewing.  GM International Services Limited also offers bespoke legal services with regards to employment contracts and employment advice apart from minimum safe manning compliance services and crew certification and registration.  The formation and structuring of ship owning and ship management companies are also provided.

GM International Services Limited has always been at the forefront of ship registration under the Malta flag and today continues to strive to provide clients with bespoke and tailored services for their particular business or venture which covers all ship and yacht registration as well as agency needs.

*This article is being made available as already published in the Malta Maritime Directory 2017/2018.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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