Shipping Registrations

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Ships of any nature, whether passenger or cargo ships, oil tankers, oil rigs, supply ships, tugs, tenders or pleasure yachts, regardless of age or tonnage, may be registered on the Bermuda Shipping Register. It is classified as a British Port of Registry, enabling Bermuda-registered ships to fly the Red Ensign and qualify for Royal Navy protection.

Bermuda Shipping Registry

The Bermuda Shipping Registry is one of the foremost registries of its kind, having a total tonnage in excess of four million. Over the past few years, large oil groups have registered ships in Bermuda, taking advantage of the reduction in fees that has made Bermuda the registry of choice, particularly for large crude carriers. Additionally, a number of vessels registered in the UK have transferred to the Bermuda Shipping Register because of the overall international business infrastructure and tax neutrality of Bermuda.

Bermuda’s popularity as an attractive offshore shipping centre has surged over the past few years as ship owners seek additional ways of reducing operating costs while maintaining high standards.

Applications for the registration of ships in Bermuda may be made by qualified persons, whether the owner or his authorized agent, and often the owner forms a Bermuda company for the purpose of either owning or chartering the ship. If the ship is to be owned by a company or person that is not resident in Bermuda, the owner must appoint a resident of Bermuda as its representative.

The procedure for registering a ship on the Bermuda Shipping Register involves providing the Register of Shipping with details on the ownership of the vessel and, where appropriate, a Builder’s Certificate.

It is a general requirement that all ships registered in Bermuda have certain certified British officers and certain manning provisions apply to a UK registered ship.

The Minister of Transport is the authority responsible for the registration of ships in Bermuda and the Registrar of Shipping administers the Merchant Shipping legislation in Bermuda.

The shipping register fee structure is based on charging an initial registration fee and an annual tonnage fee. The fees are structured to be attractive to the larger classes of vessels, as fees decrease per ton as the size increases. In addition, fees are considerably decreased when a second or subsequent ship owned or managed by the same company is registered within twelve months of the first registration.

For assistance with shipping registrations, please contact us.

For additional information, review our Memorandum on Incorporation of a Bermuda Company and Memorandum on Bermuda Shipping Registrations.