The widespread restrictive measures imposed by governments to help curb the spread of COVID-19 has driven the Malta Ship Registry to put in place effective contingency plans to mitigate disruptions to essential registration activities within its Register.

Although the Malta Registry has temporarily prohibited physical access to its premises as well as the submission of original documentation making the registration of certain transactions, particularly the registration of mortgages, seemingly impossible,  it has introduced an effective alternative by accepting soft copies of mortgage deeds in lieu of the originals, provided that the originals will be forthcoming at a future date.

In a further measure to accommodate ship owners and financiers, the Malta Registry has also agreed to postpone certain legalisation and apostille requirements where such services have been suspended overseas, likewise on the understanding that the fully certified documentation is forthcoming at a future date.

All such measures are being applied across the full spectrum of ship finance transactions and therefore also include transactions relating to mortgage discharges and mortgage transfers. The introduction of these efficient, albeit temporary measures, is being effected on an exceptional basis in view of the current coronavirus pandemic and may be subject to further change as the international situation continues  to develop.

The Malta Registry is also proving amenable to further concessions, on a case by case basis, as and when new issues present themselves, which are being conducted in the interest of ship financiers and ship owners alike.

Originally published 27 March, 2020

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