How to Qualify as a Shipping Vessel Owner

      To be qualified to be registered as an owner of a vessel on the CISR it is necessary for a person to be from one of a number of jurisdictions mandated by Merchant Shipping Legislation. Accordingly it is most common for ownership to be conducted through a corporation and ideally a Cayman Company.

      Click on the titles below to explore the various ownership types.

      Vessel ownership through a Cayman company Atoms / Icons / plusExpand

      Whilst the nationality of an individual wishing to own a Cayman Islands registered vessel is quite restrictive, there are no such restrictions as to the ownership of shares in a Cayman Islands company. Accordingly, it is common practice when registering a vessel to form a corporation to take ownership. This also provides a convenient administrative vehicle through which to conduct all the necessary formalities of purchase, registration and ongoing operation, operating with Limited Liability.

      Vessel ownership through an overseas company registered as a foreign company in CaymanAtoms / Icons / plusExpand

      Cayman Management recognises the need to provide a service to clients who wish to operate in and from the Cayman Islands through a company established in another jurisdiction. In order to operate, a company must register as a Foreign Company with the Cayman Islands Registrar of Companies.

      Cayman Management has experience in the company registration process and can guide you through the procedure and liaise with your professional advisors to ensure an efficient registration. The formalities are straightforward and Cayman Management is happy to give details of what is involved to anyone interested. Contact us to find out more.

      Alternative Ownership Registration Services for Shipping Vessels in Cayman Atoms / Icons / plusExpand

      Vessels under construction

      For many clients there is a need to register the vessel while under construction. This is particularly useful when a bank or financial institution is providing finance for the vessel.

      The documentation required is similar to that required for full registration. In lieu of the Builder’s Certificate and Certificate of Survey documentary evidence such as a certified copy of the construction or sales contract and purchasing agreements is required together with a letter from the shipyard confirming the date the keel was laid and that they have no objections to the vessel being registered as a vessel under construction in the Cayman Islands.

      The principal advantage of registration of a shipping vessel under construction is that title is ascribed to the registered owner ensuring that it is segregated from the general assets of the shipyard. A mortgage on a vessel under construction is given the same priority as for full registration.

      Interim Vessel Registration

      A 21 day Interim Certificate of Registry is available during the course of a transfer of ownership regarding a “foreign” owned and flagged ship transferring to an owner that qualifies to own a Cayman vessel and intends to register in the Cayman Islands

      Provisional Vessel Registration

      In cases where it may be difficult or impossible to complete full registration within commercial time constraints, provisional registration can be obtained which allows the yacht to be registered for a strictly limited period to allow the completion of the full process. The Provisional Certificate of Registry is a “one-time” certificate valid for up to 90 days.

      Demise Charter Vessel Registration

      Demise charter registration enables a demise charterer to register a ship under a flag that is different from its original registration. Having this registration in the Cayman Islands may be beneficial in terms of the commercial operation of the ship. Demise Charter Registration, otherwise known as “bareboat” charter typically is issued for a fixed period of 2 years or more.

      Provision of Local Representative

      If the owner of a vessel is a person or entity qualified to register a vessel in the Cayman Islands, but is not a Cayman company or resident in the Cayman Islands, a Local Representative is required and Cayman Management acts in this capacity for many such clients. This appointment must be made before submitting the registration application to the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry.

      The services provided by a Local Representative include:

      • Physical presence in the Cayman Islands
      • Forwarding of notices, documents and information received from the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry to the owner of the vessel
      • Renewal of annual ship radio licence
      • Agent for payment of annual tonnage fees

      The registration of a yacht in the Cayman Islands, including the registration of a mortgage when applicable, can be completed immediately once all documentation is in order and filed with the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry. The role of your Local Representative is crucial to the efficiency of the registration process and ongoing operation of the vessel. As the Local Representative Cayman Management will ensure routine matters are handled efficiently and in a timely fashion and that you are kept up to date with all new regulatory requirements.

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