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Merchant Ships


Merchant Ships under Registration Services covers the entire range of vessels engaged in international trade. Merchant ships above 500 GT fall within the scope of the international conventions governing international shipping standards and they must comply with the accepted international safety standards.

The registry is available 24 hours/day/365 days/year as necessary to complete registries when it is necessary to work between time zones and meet the expectations of builders, managers, financiers, and owners.

Application Requirements

Registration requires the submission of a set of straightforward documents which are intended to demonstrate:

  • Proof of ownership, which may be a Bill of Sale or a Builder’s Certificate in the case of a new building.
  • That the ship is not registered elsewhere at the same time and this is usually with a Certificate of Deletion from the previous registry if there is one.
  • Proof of eligibility to own an Antigua and Barbuda ship which may be a copy of a passport for CARICOM nationals or a copy of the certificate of Incorporation for corporate entities.  For more information on the Registration/Ownership requirements for Antigua and Barbuda flagged vessels, please click here.
  • That the owning Company is in good standing in the case of corporate entities over 1 year old.

The list of documents to be submitted for the registry is set out in the application form for the registry and is as follows:

  • Notarized copy of the Bill of Sale or the Builder’s Certificate.
  • Resolutions of the Directors of the present and the new owning company.
  • Where necessary a copy of the Power of Attorney from the present and the new owning company in favor of the persons acting on its behalf.
  • Notarized copy of the closed transcript of register, or a certificate of deletion from the present foreign register evidencing deletion of the ship from the foreign register free of encumbrances.
  • Notarized copy of the Mortgage Deed and Deeds of Covenants (if applicable).

As well as the necessary legal documents for registry, the application for registry will need to be accompanied by the ship’s current statutory certificates including:

  • Load line certificate;
  • Tonnage certificate;
  • SAFCON certificate;
  • Safety Equipment certificate;
  • Radio certificate;
  • IOPP certificate;
  • IAPP certificate; and
  • Other MARPOL Annex certificates as appropriate.

Every international trading ship of more than 500 GT is required to comply with the ISM Code and the ISPS Code and to have a manager who has been issued with a Document of Compliance for ISM (DOC).  As part of the submission of documents for registry the following require to be included.

  • Letter from the owner appointing the ISM manager (if one is appointed),
  • The DOC for the company or person responsible for operating the ship.

It is also a requirement that the registered owner and manager must each have an IMO number which is shown on the ship’s Continuous Synopsis Record (CSR).  This is very easy to obtain from: http://www.imonumbers.lrfairplay.com/

The option exists to reserve names in advance if required.  To do this, applicants need to contact the Registrar.  Where documents are submitted by post they need to be notarized copies but where the registry is transacted in person at the Antigua and Barbuda registry offices in either Antigua or in Germany we will make copies of original documents.

Vessel Inspection

An Initial Safety Inspection is required for ships over 12 months old and may be required for other ships to complete the registration process.