Situated strategically at the Mediterranean’s heart, the island of Malta is naturally positioned and ideally suited as a homeport for yachts. Malta’s strong maritime tradition has meant that its legal framework is well-geared towards ensuring that international requirements are met, which affords a yacht easy entry into ports around the world. The island has firmly established a deserved reputation for being an internationally compliant, well-run and forward-thinking jurisdiction in this area.
A Maltese yacht may be registered in the name of a company irrespective of place of incorporation, or by European Union citizens and by European Free Trade Area Nationals. The costs of company formation, ship registration and the tonnage tax are comparatively low and some of the incentives may be extended to smaller ships.
The Maltese legal system places no restrictions on the nationality of owners and crew, or on the sale of shares in a company that owns the yacht. Neither is there any restriction on the sale and, or mortgages of yachts. Ships and yachts can be registered while still under construction and the registration of mortgages and bareboat chartering is possible. There are no trading restrictions on Maltese flagged vessels: indeed, vessels under the Malta flag receive preferential treatment in certain ports.
The ownership of a yacht might present itself as a challenging prospect and customers want to enjoy these without the added burdens of administering them, which might seem complex. These challenges that can be faced with confidence when supported by expert services.
Acumum – An Advantage!
Based in Malta, London and the Republic of Ireland, and serving a wide range of private and corporate clients, Acumum Advisory is an established provider of maritime and yachting advisory services. These complement a wider portfolio of others including advisory, corporate, energy, immigration and wealth planning.
‘We fully appreciate the apparent challenges that can be associated with owning and operating yachts in different jurisdictions,’ says Dr Geraldine Spiteri, who manages the Marine and Yachting services at Acumum. ‘Registering a brand-new yacht, or changing flags, or even managing the yacht’s needs might seem so difficult as to discourage; but this doesn’t have to be so.’ This applies whether the yacht is used for personal and family enjoyment or chartered commercially, or both.
‘Our team works closely with Maltese government officials and agencies, maritime service providers, tax specialists and financial advisors to offer a range of advantageous maritime and yachting solutions for clients,’ she elaborates. ‘These include vessel ownership, registration, transactions, leasing, finance and tax arrangements. These services are tailored to the client’s needs.’
‘When dealing with maritime and yachting sector clients or those with other interests, Acumum’s approach and commitment are always the same,’ Dr Spiteri confirms. ‘Undoubtedly, Acumum Advisory can tailor the nature and extent of the services provided to the customer’s profile, which can be established on a case-by-case basis.’
The service offering can range from a one-off transaction to ongoing support, offering a proper base for the operation of the yacht. Some of the salient services relating to yachting are:
- Initial registration of the yacht, or transfer from a foreign flag to the Maltese flag
- Commercially operating structures for both new-builds and existing yachts
- Company and yacht administration services
- Procurement of relating services (e.g. tax advisory, accounts, payroll, maritime services) and thus acting as a one-stop shop in Malta for the yacht and her owner.
- Emergency line for crew and captains.
- Other ancillary services depending on the requirements of the yacht.