24 April 2024

The New Small Commercial Yacht Code 2024 (SCYC) And Related Updates

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On 1st April 2024, the Small Commercial Yacht Code 2024 (hereinafter referred to as the "sCYC") entered into force following its introduction...
Malta Transport
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On 1st April 2024, the Small Commercial Yacht Code 2024 (hereinafter referred to as the “sCYC”) entered into force following its introduction earlier in the year by means of Commercial Yachting Notice 12 released by the Merchant Shipping Directorate (“MSD”) on 20th March 2024. This is a comprehensive and specialized code that has been drafted in collaboration with stakeholders within the yachting industry and seeks to better serve the ever-evolving needs, demands, and technological advancements of the smaller commercial yachts that register under the Malta flag, whilst conforming with international safety regulations and standards.

This tailor-made code supersedes and replaces the relevant provisions of the Commercial Yacht Code 2020 (the “CYC”) as far as small commercial yachts are concerned and applies exclusively to commercial yachts with hull lengths LH (ISO 8666) of 12 metres up to 24 metres Length Art 2(8), involved in commercial activities, and which carry no more than 12 passengers. This means that yachts from 12 metres, which previously fell outside the scope of the CYC, may now also be registered commercially under the Malta flag.

With the coming into force of the sCYC, commercial yachts currently certified under the CYC, having lengths less than 24 metres Length Art. 2(8), are to begin their survey and certification process in accordance with the sCYC by no later than their first renewal survey conducted on or after 1st June 2024. Information regarding the transition from CYC to sCYC certification may be found in the Survey and Certification section of this new code.

Upon successful completion of the specified surveys and inspections in terms of the sCYC, a yacht compliant with its standards and requirements will be issued with a Small Commercial Yacht Certificate by the Registrar-General of Shipping and Seamen (the “Administration”). Just like the CYC, it is recommended that pleasure yachts of under 24 metres voluntarily comply as far as practicable with the standards set out in the sCYC, and upon request, the Administration may also issue a Statement of Compliance with the sCYC.

Commercial yachts certified per the sCYC are to be granted navigation notations that include Operational areas, i.e. coastal within 20 nautical miles (nm) from a shore, short range within 60nm from a safe haven, extended short range within 150 nm from a safe haven and unrestricted navigation with no distance limitations, with weather and radio coverage limitations and requirements. Varying minimum safe manning scales and seafarer qualifications and certification apply accordingly. Likewise, the code outlines the safety standards, requirements for pollution prevention and crew welfare that are appropriate given the size of a yacht and navigation notation whilst taking into consideration the applicable International Conventions, European Regulations/ Directives and relative industry standards.

Additionally, following the release of the sCYC, the MSD also issued a standard request form (applicable to yachts falling under the sCYC) for Crew Authorisation Attestations that may be required by certain Port Authorities in order to grant commercial yachts charter licences, pursuant to Section 16.12 of the sCYC. The form is to be submitted to the MSD yachting section together with support documentation by Recognised Organisations or by Appointed Government Surveyors or by the yacht's Maltese Legal Representative.
Furthermore, in conjunction with the introduction of the sCYC, the MSD released revised Commercial Yachts Extended Range Tender Guidelines (Revision 2), which revision came into effect as from 1st April 2024 and which replaced the previous Revision 1. The requirements laid out therein are to be applied together with the requirements outlined in Section 22 of the CYC, as amended and Section 19 of the sCYC as amended. The guidelines are only applicable to Malta flag commercial yachts' tenders that are 24m and under length of hull and which fall under the registration certificate of the Mother Yacht. Such Extended Range Yacht Tenders are in fact, to be engaged solely and exclusively in the business of the Mother Yacht. The guidelines elaborate on general requirements, as minimum equipment and insurance coverage as well as survey and certification rules.

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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