As the largest register in Europe and sixth largest in the world, the Malta Ship Registry is always amongst the first to adopt necessary measures.

In light of the difficulty in obtaining legalised documents in various jurisdictions, is the Malta Registry insisting on legalisation to proceed with a transaction?

Transport Malta usually requires certain documents to be notarised and apostilled/consularised. In light of difficulties being faced, TM is accepting to proceed on the basis of scanned notarised documents, provided the apostilled/consularised versions are obtained as soon as it becomes possible to do so.

Has the Registry shown any flexibility with respect to the payment of fees?

TM acknowledges that shipowners are facing cash-flow issues in light of the global situation which has also impacted the shipping sector significantly. The Registry is therefore accepting, on receipt of a written request, the postponement of payment of annual renewal and tonnage tax fees (where applicable) for a period of 3 months. The renewed certificates will be released subject to payment of applicable fees within the 3 months from renewal date.

What measures has TM adopted as far as crew are concerned?

One of the major problems faced by owners, operators and managers due to the pandemic relates to crew. Pursuant to the Maritime Labour Convention, crew on board ships should be repatriated at the termination of their seafarer employment agreement. This has in practice given rise to serious issues since dis/embarkation of crew is not always possible due to restrictions imposed by ports due to COVID-19. Consequently, provided all parties involved (including the crew member) are in agreement, the seafarer employment agreement may be extended on a case-by-case basis for a period of 3 months, which may be extended further upon application, provided repatriation is arranged for as soon as possible.

With respect to crew certification expiring while the crew member is still on board, TM can accept, upon receipt of a request, to extend the validity of the crew member’s endorsement certificate up till the extended validity of the crew’s Certificate of Competency.

What should be done if Class surveys cannot be conducted in time due to restrictions?

Upon receipt of a request through the appointed Classification Society, TM may on a case-by case basis, consider requests to postpone/extend any audit/survey/inspection, provided Class is unable to attend the vessel due to genuine reasons relating to COVID-19 restrictions.

For commercial yachts, TM is also accepting surveys carried out remotely.