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What is Maritime Law?

Malta has the largest ship registry in the European Union with over 8,000 ships under her flag and 74 million gross tonnes plying the world’s shipping routes under her flag.

With a robust Maritime Law, Malta continues to be the flag of choice for many shipping companies as a result of its strategically positioned Freeport and outstanding safety record. It has the sixth largest ship register in the world.

Malta is also the headquarters of the International Maritime Law Institute which was set up in 1988, under the International Maritime Organisation as a specialised agency of the United Nations.
IMLI is the primary institute which specialises in the training of specialising in maritime law.

Malta is situated in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, connecting the South of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
The Malta Maritime Authority was set up in 1991 to administer the Malta Registry of Shipping. In 2010, it was incorporated into Transport Malta.

While the bulk of Malta’s registry is cargo freight, the allure of the islands has also resulted in an increase in the number of Super Yachts that now fly the Maltese flag.

The accepted definition of Maritime Law, also known as admiralty law, is a body of laws, conventions, and treaties that govern private maritime business and other nautical matters, such as shipping or offenses occurring on open water.
International rules, governing the use of the oceans and seas, are known as the Law of the Sea.

In short, Maritime Law is a concept and a binding adherence to standards in shipping, safety, standards, environmental considerations and other factors that transcend national interests, which focus on the responsibilities of vessels at sea.

It is largely overseen by the International Maritime Law Institute for terms of best practice. Malta’s Maritime act provides for both the registration of vessels for personal or commercial purposes.

Boats and Yachts

While Malta is well established in terms of freight shipping registry, the yachting and boating sector – particularly Super Yachts – is experiencing growth.

Maltese Maritime Law also includes subsidiary regulations which provide for the registration of boats and yachts. These laws have been changed and updated several times over the years due to Malta’s evolving state in the maritime sector.

To register a boat or yacht in Malta, the company in question must choose a name of for the vessel which must be original, according to the Ships’ Name Regulations of 1973.

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