During the past few months the Maltese government has lifted most of the COVID-19 restrictive measures, in order to mitigate the negative effects that the pandemic had on the local economy, which had a positive impact on the Maltese shipping industry as well.

Any person visiting Malta from a list of 50 EU and third countries[1] is not required to submit himself to any period of quarantine upon his arrival to Malta as the Period of Quarantine Order (L.N. 40 of 2020) has been amended by virtue of, inter alia,  L.N. 252, L.N. 279 and L.N. 289 of 2020 while under L.N. 244, L.N. 255, L.N. 280 and L.N. 290 of 2020 people can now travel from these countries to Malta without any restrictions. As a result, cruise liners, yachts and the rest of passenger vessels arriving in Malta from the countries mentioned above are not banned from the Maltese ports anymore and crew changes have become more efficient.

Also, as part of the relaxation of COVID-19 measures, transiting yachts with only crew members on board, are allowed to berth in Malta for the purpose of refueling, servicing, customs procedures, flagging and other necessities irrespective of their country of origin and the non-essential travel between Malta and Gozo is again allowed due to the revocation of L.N. 118 of 2020. Meanwhile, under Port Notice 11/20, the framework of protocol for conducting maritime support services which was introduced (by virtue of Port Notice 10/20) in order to address the spread of the pandemic and was applicable to all vessels which had been cleared to obtain services in Maltese waters and ports, has been repealed.

Finally the Flag Administration has decided to defer the due payment date of the registration fees and annual tonnage tax of merchant ships, of which the anniversary date falls on or after 1 April 2020, by a period of three months from the anniversary in order to support shipping companies, owners, managers and operators of Maltese merchant ships who are currently facing serious cash flow issues and enable them to address the difficulties encountered due to the wide spread of the COVID-19 outbreak (MSD Notice 160).

[1]These countries are Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Italy, France, Slovakia, Switzerland, Greece, Croatia, Spain, Poland, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Bulgaria, The Netherlands, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, China, the Vatican City, Rwanda, Uruguay, Slovenia, Japan, Morocco, Thailand, Tunisia, Portugal, Romania, Lebanon, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Jordan and Liechtenstein.