On the 1st of July 2016, Legal Notice 210 of 2016 entitled the Merchant Shipping Act (amendment of Various Articles) Regulations 2016, came into force and is currently part of and enforceable as Maltese law.

Legal Notice 210 of 2016 brought forward a number of amendments to the Merchant Shipping Act (“MSA”), Chapter 234 of the Laws of Malta, clarifying a number of ambiguities that existed and also reflecting current administrative practices.

In light of these amendments, owners, operators, charterers and managers have various options when considering trading a vessel under dual registration. One such option relates to naming their ship.

Legal Notice 210 of 2016 made it possible for bareboat charterers who opt to bareboat charter register their ship out of Malta to give a name to the ship that is different from the one registered in Malta as the underlying registry. This will surely assist bareboat charterers in reshaping an identity on the ship that is far removed from that of the owner for not only is the charterer operating his bareboat chartered ship under a different flag but is also trading the ship with a different name.

For the charterer to be in a position to give the ship a name that is different to that in Malta as the underlying registry, the charterer must approach the owner and ask him to obtain the consent of the Maltese Registrar. The Registrar will only grant consent to having different names if he has evidence that there is no objection on the part of the owner and of any registered mortgagees.