The New Commercial Yacht Code 2020

Effective as at 1st January 2021, the Merchant Shipping Directorate published the new  Commercial Yacht Code 2020 (the “CYC 2020”) revising and improving on the provisions of the previous Commercial Yacht Code 2015 (the “CYC 2015”). Following the publication of the CYC 2015, which proved to be an industry favourite due to its vast contribution towards the proliferation of a cleaner and safer  Malta registered commercial yacht fleet, the Directorate almost immediately began receiving constructive feedback from interested parties and held several discussions with both customers and regulators which led to the CYC 2020 being introduced.

The CYC 2020 is the fourth edition drawn up by the Directorate and has been made applicable to all commercial yachts. Notably, existing commercial yachts already certified in accordance with the CYC 2015, shall comply with the requirements of the CYC 2020 by not later than the yacht's first periodical survey carried out after the 1st June 2021. The Directorate and the CYC 2020 itself have placed a particular focus on providing for special consideration in relation to the phasing-in of new and optimised applicable requirements on existing yachts.

The CYC 2020 was drawn up following various consultations over the last five years with industry stakeholders including but not limited to yacht builders and repair yards, surveyors, specialised service providers and manufacturers, yacht management companies, and the Professional Yachtsman Association serving as a wide encompassing representation of the yachting industry in Malta. The Code has been published with the ultimate aim of better serving the needs of the ever-growing Maltese yachting industry by optimising the regulatory regime to the particular needs, demands and technologies of this industry, whilst ensuring conformity with safety and international regulations and standards which are relevant to International Conventions, EU Directives, and the industry standards. In fact, it is evidenced that a substantial number of the newly introduced requirements seek to cover further the safety aspects of commercial yachting in Malta together with technical and technological demands of such industry, in order to keep intact with the limitless technological developments and improvements currently being experienced within the  yachting industry.

Opportunely, the Directorate has provided the full details of the improvements undertaken within the CYC 2020 through Annex 1 of the code itself, in addition to a synopsis of the main amendments and improvements to the CYC 2020 which has also been made available online. By way of summary, it may be garnered that the main amendments and additions made to the CYC 2020 aim at primarily improving the health and safety of passengers at sea, enhancing the structural aspects of commercial vessels including provisions on the design and safety of helicopter landing areas onboard, safeguarding the welfare of seafarers at onboard commercial vessels, and improving the vital protection of our marine environment amongst others. Explicitly, the latest amendments introduced relate to the following matters:

  • The Application and Interpretation of the CYC 2020;
  • Yacht Structural Strength and Watertight Integrity;
  • Rigging on Sailing Yachts;
  • Yacht Machinery;
  • Electrical Installations;
  • Intact and Damage Stability;
  • Life-Saving Appliances;
  • Fire protection;
  • Onboard Equipment;
  • The Maritime Labour Convention 2006;
  • Protection of Personnel;
  • Navigation and Communication;
  • Marine Pollution Prevention;
  • Manning and Crew Certification;
  • Medical Stores;
  • Survey and Certification;
  • Tenders and Ancillary Craft;
  • Static Chartering; and
  • Helicopter Landing Areas.

For further detail on these latest amendments and their impact on the yachting industry in practice, please contact our  shipping experts, so that they may guide you accordingly.

The Draft Malta Passenger Yacht Code 2020

In addition to the CYC 2020, spurred on by encouragement from the Maltese yachting industry and following various consultations with industry stakeholders, the Directorate has also recently presented and published a draft version of the Malta Passenger Yacht Code 2020 (the “PYC 2020”) for consultation purposes. In this regard, the Directorate is currently awaiting further feedback and suggestions from industry players until the end of this month so that the draft code may be revised in light of feedback and experience gained.

Due to the fact that passenger yachts are growing in size, the Directorate felt that the 12-passenger limit has inopportunely become rather perceptible, therefore similar to other national authorities and administrations, the Directorate has taken action through the PYC 2020 with the aim of tackling this industry demand. The PYC 2020 has been introduced and drafted primarily to cater for passenger yachts above or equal to 500 gross tonnages, which carries more than 12 passengers, which carry not more than 200 persons, which do not carry cargo and which are engaged on international voyages.

Notably, emails with any sort of suggestions or feedback may be sent to; as stipulated above, the consultation process shall close by the end of February 2021.

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.