The new Malta Passenger Yacht Code

Author: Lara Saguna Axiaq, Senior Associate

On the 24th May 2021 the Merchant Shipping Directorate of Transport Malta published Merchant Shipping Notice 171 notifying the industry that the Malta Passenger Yacht Code (PYC) will enter into force on the 25th May 2021. The code was drawn up following consultation with industry stakeholders.

Prior to the entry into force of the PYC, commercial yachts registered under the Malta flag and carrying more than 12 passengers were required to satisfy requirements similar to those for passenger ships since they fall outside the scope of the Malta Commercial Yacht Code. Due to the increasing size of commercial yachts and the onerous requirements applicable to passengers ships, the Merchant Shipping Directorate recognised the need to develop a code which specifically caters for larger commercial yachts carrying more than 12 passengers. The PYC caters for a number of equivalencies specifically designed for passenger yachts which carry more than 12 passengers and up to 36 passengers, do not carry more than 200 persons, do not carry cargo and are engaged on international voyages.

This is a welcome development since it addresses technical issues and concerns faced by whoever wishes to register larger commercial yachts under the Malta flag.

The PYC may be found here:

For further information on ship and yacht registration under the Malta flag please contact Lara Saguna Axiaq (