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At the end of December 2016, Transport Malta, the authority responsible for the administration of the Maltese flag, introduced new guidelines that allow more than 12 guests on board private superyachts over 500 gt.
The Guidelines for Pleasure Yachts Carriage Capacities are part of the ongoing Maltese initiative to introduce contemporary standards in the area of private yachting that allow captains, managers, builders, designers and service providers to stay abreast of Maltese flagging expectations and developments.
Ivan Summit, Registrar general for the Maltese flag explains, “You have to evolve to stay relevant in this market place. Malta hopes to be more than just a European flagging alternative; we have a holistic view of the superyacht market and want to become a turnkey destination for private and commercial superyachts”.
The new guidelines are the result of the Maltese registry recognizing a major gap in the market. Traditionally, private yachts have been unable to carry more than 12 passengers unless they have been built to SOLAS regulations, or more recently, built to the Passenger Yacht Code and registered with a Red Ensign flag.
In order for a superyacht to qualify for this new certification, the yacht must: be over 24m, not navigating beyond 150 NM from safe haven, be in class as well as possession of the necessary stability booklet, comply with all applicable international conventions, carry appropriate safety equipment, and have a crew compliment in line with the commercial yacht code.
The new guidelines formalize the position of the Maltese flag in regards to the carriage of more than 12 passengers, provided that the necessary safety and security measures have been implemented. The Maltese flagging policy requires superyachts of 500gt or more to abide by the standards and provide the certificates equivalent to those expected of a commercial yacht. It should be noted that these new guidelines are not strictly limited to vessels over 500gt. Furthermore, transport Malta has also recognized the tendency for owners to commission superyachts that fall below the international 500gt limit for conventions. Yachts of 499gt and similar sizes will also be able to benefit from the new guidelines.