Shipping business has gained prominence in Mauritius over the last decade as the legislative framework is seen to be very desirable for conducting shipping activities. There has been constant government support to establish Mauritius as an attractive hub for ship registration.


Legislative and Institutional framework

Mauritius ship registration is regulated by the Merchant Shipping Act 2007 and the Merchant Shipping Regulations 2009. In addition to the local laws, Mauritius has also acceded to the key international maritime conventions such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982, the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) 1974, amongst others. Mauritius is also a member of the International Maritime Organisation.

The supervision of shipping law and regulations, shipping vessels and seafarers is under the responsibility of the Director of Shipping under the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries & Shipping. The Director of Shipping is also responsible for the administration of the Mauritius Open Ship Registry. The Home Port and the Head Office of the Registry is located in Port Louis.


Benefits for ship registration in Mauritius

There is a panoply of benefits offered to persons willing to register their ships in Mauritius. Ship registration under the laws of Mauritius is commendable mainly for the following reasons:

  • Mauritius registered vessels are exempted from tax on freight earnings;
  • There are no restrictions on nationality of the crew and no requirements for work permits;
  • Permitted in and out bareboat registry;
  • 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;
  • Dividends paid from a Mauritius shipping company are free of withholding tax;
  •   The country has a sound infrastructure, with well-educated bilingual support services and good communication systems and
  • Mauritius has a stable government and has ratified most of the international conventions on maritime safety, 


Ship registration process

A ship can be registered as a Mauritian vessel if it is owned by a Mauritius citizen, corporate entities or any maritime entity which includes a partnership, ‘société’, association or other body of persons which is a business entity.

To be eligible for registration in Mauritius, the ship must be aged 15 years or less (unless the Registrar of Ships accepts that the ship be more than 15 Years while imposing certain conditions), it should carry a liability insurance and comply with all the international protocols/conventions related to safety, protection of environment and security. If the ship's weight is over 500 tons, it must present a certification from certain recognised international classification society which develop and apply technical standards for the design, construction and survey of ships and which carry out surveys and inspections on board ships.

A bareboat charter ship which is registered under the laws of a foreign country may be registered in Mauritius if it is so authorized by the proper officer of the foreign country provided that the ship is operated under a bareboat charter for a period of not less than 2 years, or such lesser period as may be authorized by the Director of Shipping.

Ship registration procedures in the Global Business Sector of Mauritius involve:

  1. the formation of a company licensed by the Financial Services Commission as a Global Business Company or an Authorised Company; and
  2. the registration of the vessel itself with the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries & Shipping.

Registration of the vessel with the above-mentioned Ministry would necessitate the following documents:

  1. Application for Registration of Ship as Mauritius Ship, Official Number and Call Sign (Form SR01);
  2. Declaration of Ownership (Form SR02);
  3. Where registration is being made by a corporate body:
    - a copy of the certificate of incorporation (for all companies and bodies corporate);
    - a copy of resolutions of the company’s board of directors authorizing a director or the company secretary of the company to effect the registration of the ship in Mauritius;
  4. Evidence of ownership - the evidence of ownership normally to be produced consists of:
    a. for a new ship, the builder's certificate; or
    b. for a ship which is not new, the builder’s certificate and the bill of sale, or other equivalent document acceptable to the Registrar, evidencing the most recent transfer of ownership.
  5. Ship's Carving and Marking Note signed by a surveyor - Before registration, a ship shall be marked permanently and conspicuously in the prescribed manner to the satisfaction of the Director. The Director has the power to exempt a ship or class of ships from any carving and marking requirements subject to such conditions as he may impose;
  6. Certificate of Survey - Before registration, a ship shall be surveyed and have its tonnage ascertained by a surveyor who will thereafter grant a Certificate of Survey for delivery to the Registrar specifying the ship's tonnage and build and other particulars required by the Director of Shipping. Certain classification societies (i.e., the American Bureau of Shipping, the Bureau Veritas, the Det Norske Veritas,  the Hellenic Register of Shipping, the Lloyds Register of Shipping, the Nippon Keiji Kyokai, the Indian Register of Shipping, and the Korean Register of Shipping) have been authorized to carry out the survey and measurements of the ship on behalf of the Government of Mauritius.
  7. Where a ship intended to be registered in Mauritius has already been measured according to the International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships 1969 in a foreign country, the Director of Shipping may treat the ship as being of the tonnage denoted in its previous certificate of registration without the ship being re-measured if such a ship is in possession of a valid international tonnage certificate. However, if a surveyor determines that a ship should be re-measured, the surveyor shall carry out the measurement and issue a new tonnage certificate to that effect;
  8. If the ship is coming from a foreign register, a Certificate of Deletion and a declaration to state that the ship is free and clear of registered encumbrances;
  9. Documents used to support an application in a foreign language must be accompanied by a notarized translation; and
  10. Registration fee.
    Additional documents to be produced for a provisional or permanent certificate of registration are copies of:
    i. Certificate of Class Maintenance issued by a recognized classification society;
    ii. Proof of liability insurance;
    iii. Mauritius Load Line Certificate issued under the provisions of the International Load Line Convention 1966;
    iv. Mauritius Cargo Ship Safety Equipment Certificate issued under the provisions of SOLAS 1974;
    v. Mauritius Cargo Ship Safety Radio Certificate under the provisions of SOLAS 1974;
    vi. (in case of a passenger ship) Mauritius Passenger Ship Certificate under the provisions of SOLAS 1974;
    vii. Mauritius Cargo Ship Safety Construction Certificate under the provisions of SOLAS 1974;
    viii. Mauritius Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973 (as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto);
    ix. Any other certificate under any other further convention to which Mauritius has acceded at the time of first registration.

If Mauritius accedes to any further convention after the date of first registration, the ship shall comply with that additional convention and procure the issue of the relevant certificates under the additional convention.

Existing certificates issued by a foreign state which is a party to the convention to which Mauritius has acceded at the date of first registration may be accepted by the Director of Shipping for issue of a provisional registration certificate of the ship.  New Mauritian certificates issued under the conventions must be submitted to the Director before expiry of existing convention certificates and not later than 90 days of issue of the provisional or permanent certificate of registration, whichever shall first occur.


This briefing is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.