Ship, Yacht and Ship Mortgage Registration

Registration of Merchant Ships Act, 1989

Belize is an active member of the International Maritime Organization and remains an attractive and steadfast choice for offshore ship registration. The International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize (IMMARBE) handles all formalities in connection with maritime certification for vessels registered in Belize and actively promotes the registration of merchant ships, fishing vessels, pleasure yachts and non-commercial crafts. There are approximately 1,600 vessels currently registered under the Belize Flag.

International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize (IMMARBE)

IMMARBE is open to any type, class or size of vessel used for international navigation that has passed the necessary safety inspections and is engaged in legal maritime activities within the world-wide shipping industry. The main advantages that can be had under the Belize Flag are the cost effective registration fees, annual fees and incentives for deductions when registering two or more vessels, a well established legal system and mortgage recording service, political stability and an efficient and user-friendly registration procedure.

The Belize ship registry permits offshore companies to be registered as ship owners and to have their vessels registered under the Belize Flag. An International Business Company (IBC) can be incorporated in Belize to own merchant ships and pleasure crafts. “IBC-owned” ships that fly the Belize flag enjoy all the privileges of international conventions signed onto by Belize; and, as well, accrue the financial benefits realized from tax exemptions on the income derived from its chartering and other worldwide income generating activities.

Resident Shipping Agent

All vessels registered in Belize require an approved resident shipping agent. Georgetown Trust, Ltd. is authorized to render resident shipping agent services in Belize to facilitate ship-owners with the processing of relevant documents for ship mortgages and the provisional, permanent or special registration of their shipping vessels under the Belize Flag and to provide other ancillary services related to ship registration. Dual registrations in the form of charter party contracts and bareboat charter registrations are facilitated under the governing terms of the original country’s ship registry. There are no requirements under Belize law for the ship’s owner, whether an individual or legal entity, to be Belizean.

Provisional and permanent registration are available for titles, mortgages, encumbrances and other deeds relating to vessels applying for governance under the Belize Flag. Provisional registration is valid for six months during which time the necessary paperwork may be effected, if necessary, to obtain permanent registration. Permanent registration is valid for five years and is renewable if the vessel remains in good standing. The Belize shipping law regulates ship safety standards, ship mortgages and securities to qualify and meet the standards of international insurers and lenders.

Vessels registered in Belize are expected to have the following certificates on board at all times: International Loadline, Ship Safety Equipment, Ship Safety Radiotelephony, Ship Safety Radiotelegraphy, Ship Safety Construction, International Oil Pollution Prevention Plan, International Tonnage, Passenger Ship Safety, Annual General Inspection and Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan.

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