A Guide to Ship Registration in Mauritius
Some of the advantages of registering your ship in Mauritius include:
- Mauritius registered vessels are exempt from tax on freight earnings
- Dividends paid from the Mauritius shipping company are free of withholding tax
- Ship’s stores, consumables, spare parts and bunkers are exempted from customs and excise duties
- Crew are exempted from Mauritius income tax
- No capital gains tax is payable upon the sale or transfer of a ship or of the shares in a shipping company
- No estate duty is payable on the inheritance of shares in a shipping company
- There are no restrictions on the nationality of the crew and work permits are not required
- Mauritius has ratified most of the international conventions on maritime safety, prevention of pollution and training and certification of seafarers.
- Mauritius citizens and certain types of companies are entitled to own and register ships under the Mauritius Flag. Specifically this includes companies holding a Global Business Licence (GBC), provided their objects are confined to the registering of ships under the Mauritius Flag and that their shipping activities are carried out exclusively outside Mauritius
Further, the above persons or companies can register a foreign ship under the Mauritius Flag if the ship is bareboat chartered to them for a period of at least 12 months but not exceeding three years. Every type of seaworthy vessel intended for use in navigation is eligible, but they should not be older than 15 years. It must maintain class with one of the classification societies approved by the Director of Shipping and a third party liability insurance certificate must be produced evidencing compliance with international maritime conventions to which Mauritius has acceded.
The registration procedures involve the formation of a Company licensed by the Financial Services Commission to hold a Global Business Licence (GBC) and the registration of the vessel itself with the Ministry of Trade and Shipping.
The Mauritius shipping laws allow for permanent, provisional and parallel registration of vessels.
Provisional registration under the Mauritius Flag for a period of up to six months prior to permanent registration is allowed and may be effected at any place abroad, where Mauritius has an embassy, a consulate or an honorary consul.
The requirements as to the age, class, and proof of liability insurance and international conventions as required for permanent registration shall apply. For a ship which has a foreign certificate of registration and wants to transfer to the Mauritius register, a certificate of deletion from the foreign register clearing any registered encumbrances, is required.
Parallel registration. Ships bareboat registered in a foreign registry chartered by Mauritius companies may be registered in the Mauritius Open Ship Registry for the period of the charter, however, not exceeding three years.
Permanent Registration is where the ship is permanently registered after fulfilment of all of the registration procedures. On receipt of the certificates, the Director of Shipping will allot to the ship the number which must be carved on the ship, together with the name, registered tonnage and the port of registry. On the completion of the carving, marking and the inspection by an approved surveyor, and receipt of the necessary documents and fees, the Director of Shipping will issue the certificate of registration.
A Mauritius ship may be given as mortgage for security of principal sum and interest. The legislation has been amended to bring it in line with the British System of Mortgages. Both owners and mortgagees are fully safeguarded by clear provisions in the appropriate regulations.
A ship under the Mauritius Flag or a share therein may be pledged or given security for a loaner guarantee. A provisionally registered Mauritius ship can be mortgaged and the priority of such mortgage is preserved upon permanent registration of the ship.
The process includes two steps, the incorporation of the Mauritius GBC Company, and the registration of the vessel in Mauritius with a Mauritius Flag. Depending on the business plan and the availability of the documents, it takes around 3-4 weeks for the company incorporation and another 2-3 weeks for the ship registration.
This type of company can be used for Ship Management engaged in various activities such as fishing, transport, etc.
The company pays a low rate of tax (1.5 to 3%) on its profits and situated in a jurisdiction where there are no withholding tax and no capital gains tax. It is the ideal vehicle for those who want to fish in the Indian Ocean, keeping the registry in a jurisdiction near to that of their catches.
Who is it for?
- Fishing Companies fishing in the Indian Ocean
- Cargo company
- Ship Management companies for tax reduction
- Low rate of tax (1.5 % or max of 3%)
- Tax minimisation and planning
- Avoidance of double taxation
- Confidential vehicle
- No capital gains tax
- No withholding tax on repatriation of profits (dividends)
- Mauritius GBC I – between 0 and 3% tax
- Seychelles CSL – flat 1.5% tax
- Only in resident state but at a reduced rate, as per the treaty between the two countries