As the regulatory demands on offshore companies continue to grow, it can be hard to determine the right jurisdiction for the ownership and registration of vessels. Recent changes relaxing eligibility requirements for the Bermuda Ship Registry and the introduction of more competitive vessel registration pricing have positioned Bermuda extremely well. At the same time, the jurisdiction’s good standing with the European Union with respect to tax cooperation gives Bermuda an increasingly important advantage over EU blacklisted jurisdictions such as the Marshall Islands.

Changes to Bermuda Ship Registry

Earlier this summer, the universe of vessels that can be registered on the Bermuda Ship Registry was expanded significantly by an amendment to the Merchant Shipping (Registration of Ships) Regulations. These changes, along with changes that permit competitive fee pricing for shipping groups that register multiple vessels and/or use a Bermuda-incorporated vessel owning entity and have a principal place of business in Bermuda, make Bermuda a more attractive jurisdiction for international shipping groups.

As a result of the recent amendments, vessels owned by companies incorporated in many of the most significant jurisdictions used by international shipowners, including Bahamas, Hong Kong, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Panama, Singapore and South Korea, can now be registered in Bermuda.

This is a significant development, and means that international shipowners can now register vessels owned by companies incorporated in the above jurisdictions in addition to vessels owned by companies incorporated in the UK, any British territory, and most European countries (including Greece). The new regulations have been spearheaded by the Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority as part of its strategy to position the Bermuda shipping offering as best in class.

“We are determined to make the Bermuda Ship Registry the registry of choice for quality shipowners,” says Francis Richardson, CEO of the Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority. “The relaxation of the eligibility requirements, combined with our ability to offer competitive fees for multiple vessel registrations and for groups that are focussed in Bermuda, will be instrumental in the Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority achieving this goal.”

Originally published in Marine Money.

Stay current with our latest legal insights and subscribe today