The Merchant Shipping Directorate within Transport Malta issued Guidelines for Changeovers of Commercial Yachts and Pleasure Yachts (the 'Guidelines') on the 2nd of September 2021 in line with the requirements of the Malta Commercial Yacht Code. These highly anticipated Guidelines list the salient points to consider when changing the registration status of a yacht as well as to outline the procedure to be followed when owners intend to change the status of registration of a Malta flag yacht from pleasure to a commercial and vice-versa.
The possibility of changing the registration status of a Malta flag yacht has always been a viable option accepted by the Malta Ship Registry in the past; however, through these newly issued Guidelines, the Merchant Shipping Directorate within Transport Malta aim to provide further clarification as to how such a change in registration status may be carried out smoothly.
The Guidelines make it clear that the Merchant Shipping Directorate within Transport Malta does not limit the number of changes made to the registration status of a Malta-flagged yacht and furthermore does not stipulate any time limit in relation to the duration of change of registration of a Malta flagged yacht. Hence, these Guidelines are drafted in such a way to offer Malta yacht owners and managers alike a significant degree of flexibility with regard to changing the registration status of their yacht.
Despite this above-mentioned flexibility afforded to yacht owners, the Guidelines recommend that owners should keep the same survey and certification standards required for commercial yachts even when transitioning registration status from a commercial yacht to a pleasure yacht. Moreover, the Guidelines specify that there must be an undertaking by the owner or the manager of the Malta flagged yacht confirming that they shall return the current Certificate of Registry of the yacht which is to be submitted to the Merchant Shipping Directorate within Transport Malta immediately together with the request to change the registration of the yacht.
Naturally, the change of registration from pleasure to commercial status is subject to the payment of a fee. However, the Guidelines detail certain exceptions in relation to the fees payable when numerous changes in status take place within the same year.
Notably, the issuance of these Guidelines has been a welcomed advancement in the yachting sector since they provide clarity and certainty in relation to the coordination of conversions of registration statuses of Malta flagged yachts.
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.