Ship registration and mortgaging are regulated by the Mauritius Merchant Shipping Act 1986 and the Mauritius Shipping (Amendment) Act 1992. Mauritius is a member of the International Maritime organisation (IMO) and has acceded to all key international maritime conventions.
The Mauritius Ship Registry entitles citizens of Mauritius, companies incorporated in Mauritius (including domestic and Global Business Companies) and maritime entities (such as partnerships, sociétés or associations) to register their vessels in Mauritius.
Further, the above persons or companies can register a foreign ship under the Mauritian Flag if the ship is bareboat chartered to them for a period of at least 12 months
A non-Mauritian owner wishing to register its vessel in Mauritius may either elect a Mauritian resident to act as its representative, or may incorporate an offshore company in Mauritius and authorize the company to register the vessel on its behalf. The offshore company may either be a Category 1 Global Business Licence (“GBL1”) or a Category 2 Global Business Licence (“GBL2”).
What is a GBL1?
A GBL1 is a company registered in Mauritius and is subject to a corporate tax at the rate of 15%, but is eligible for an automatic deemed tax credit of 80% on foreign sourced income that reduces the effective tax rate to a maximum of 3%.
Any income derived by the registered owner of a foreign vessel from the operations of the vessel, including chartering, is tax exempt in Mauritius, as is any income derived by the registered owner of a local vessel registered in Mauritius, provided that the income is derived from deep-sea international trade only.
Additionally, there is no capital gains tax on the sale or transfer of a ship or the shares in a shipping company, and there is no estate duty following the inheritance of shares in a shipping company.
What is a GBL2?
A GBL 2 is a private company which conducts business with persons all of whom are resident outside Mauritius and in a currency other than the Mauritian rupee.
A GBL 2 provides for greater flexibility and is a suitable vehicle for holding and managing private assets.
It is a tax exempt company, therefore has no access to the network of Double Taxation Agreements of Mauritius. A GBL2 may be locally incorporated or registered as a branch of a foreign company.
PERMITTED SHIPS REGISTRATION
The Mauritius Ship Registry permits the registration of the following categories of ships:
Ships and yachts that are bareboat chartered for a period not less than 2 years and which are already registered in another country’s registry;
Ships, yachts and other types of vessels that are privately owned for leisure or for business;
Ships that are still under construction;
Fishing vessels and;
It is worth noting that Mauritian laws allow the owner of a Mauritian ship to register the ship at the same time in the registry of another country if the ship is subject to a bareboat charter and the owner will not be responsible for the management, operations or control of the ship during the period of the charter.
Eligibility of ships
Every type of sea worthy vessel, lighter, barge structure or launch, however propelled, intended for use in navigation is eligible but it must also satisfy the following:
Age: It shall not exceed 15 years of age since the date of first construction.
Class: It must maintain class with one of the classification societies approved by the Director of Shipping who will issue a Mauritius Tonnage Certificate.
A third party liability insurance must be produced with certificates evidencing compliance with international maritime conventions to which Mauritius has acceded.
Benefits of ship registration in Mauritius
The legislative framework governing shipping business, is seen to be attractive for conducting shipping activities and ship registration.
Mauritius has ratified most of the international conventions on maritime safety, prevention of pollution and training and certification of seafarers.
Incorporation of a company in the Global Business Sector confers attractive tax planning advantages.
No capital gains tax is payable upon the sale or transfer of a ship or of the shares in a shipping company.
Mauritian registered vessels are exempt from tax on freight earnings, resultant net revenue or dividends received from the Mauritian shipping company.
Exemption from payment of Mauritius income tax for all personnel working on board a Mauritius Ship.
The requirement of a work permit for foreigners is waived in the case of personnel working on a Mauritian Flag ship.
No restrictions on the nationality of the crew.
Ship’s stores, consumables, spare parts and bunkers are exempted from customs and excise duties.
No estate duty is payable on the inheritance of shares in a shipping company.
The registration procedures involve the:
formation of a Company licensed by the Financial Services Commission to hold a Global Business Licence (GBL1 or GBL2) and
the Registration of the vessel itself with the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping.
Yacht Charters Global®™ in collaboration with Blue Ocean Management Ltd has the expertise in carrying out the ship registration procedures and on-going administration.
What you need for registration in Mauritius?
Application for Registration of Ship as Mauritius Ship, Official Number and Call Sign;
Certificate of Incorporation (for all Companies and Bodies Corporate);
Declaration of Ownership;
Original documents of sale (for example, Bill of Sale, Builder’s Certificate);
Certificate of Survey issued by one of the classification societies (listed below*) who have been authorised to carry out the survey and measurements of the ship on behalf of the Government of Mauritius;
If the ship is coming from a foreign register, a Certificate of Deletion and a declaration to state that the ship is free and clear of registered encumbrances.
Documents used to support an application in a foreign language must be accompanied by a notarised translation;
Any other related documents.
*CLASSIFICATION SOCIETIES FOR AUTHORISED SURVEYORS
American Bureau of Shipping, Bureau Veritas, Det Norske Veritas, Germanischer Lloyd, Hellenic Register of Shipping, Lloyds Register of Shipping, Nippon Kaiji Kyokai, Indian Register of Shipping, Korean Register of Shipping.