On Tuesday 9th July 2019, the Government of Malta published a press release[1] updating the public on the Merchant Ship Register, highlighting the recent success achieved in the maritime sector.

The update informs that Malta's success is owed not only to its glowing reputation and high quality of service, but also the state's initiative in implementing and ratifying International Conventions aimed at protecting the marine environment and its surroundings, while also increasing the levels of safety on board vessels in order to safeguard lives. Consequently, it is through the confidence ship owners have placed in the Maltese flag that the maritime industry in Malta is booming, increasing Malta's visibility on the world stage.

With 8,300 vessels and 780 superyachts flying the Maltese flag, Malta has cemented its position as the largest ship registry in Europe. More than 6% of merchant shipping vessels in the world are now registered under the Maltese flag, which is equivalent to 82 million gross tonnes in vessels; an increase of 7% so far for the year 2019 (the largest increase of all registers). Apart from the increase in tonnage, it is also worth noting a decrease in the average age of vessels being registered in the Maltese jurisdiction.

Apart from commercial vessels, the Maltese flag is also managing to attract niche markets such as cruise liners. In fact, the popular cruise liner company MSC Cruises has also recently registered a number of its cruise liners under the Maltese flag. The Government also announced that the shipping company CMA CGM, one of the largest shipping operators in the world, had transferred its entire fleet of 87 ships under the Maltese flag. This positive development is testament to the trust that this major shipping company has in the Maltese Registry.

These encouraging developments are considered important for the Maltese economy, as government revenue generated from shipping activities in the jurisdiction has significantly increased over the past few years – a trend which is projected to continue for the current year. Such statistics show the increasing trust vested in the Malta flag over the past few years resulting in the Paris Memorandum of Understanding which officially re-classified Malta as a White List state; cementing Malta's key position on the international playing field for another consecutive year.

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