The government’s mission is to further support the yachting industry in Malta
The maritime industry has historically been a long-standing pillar of the Maltese economy. Admittedly, it became more so once Malta joined the EU. The challenge remains in keeping abreast of regulatory and legislative developments while remaining competitive with other jurisdictions.
The exponential growth experienced by the Malta flag over the last 32 years is a feather in the cap of successive government administrations that have always recognised the importance of this economic activity, which generates over €24 million annually. This does not include the total amount generated by private stakeholders involved directly and indirectly in ship registration services, which amounts to circa €200.27 million. The new Merchant Shipping Act came into force on April 6, 1973. Early 1977 saw further changes to the legal and administrative side of shipping. The collective effort of the various stakeholders in the sector, including Transport Malta, has put Malta on the map as the leading jurisdiction in shipping and yachting, with the biggest register in Europe and a leading register globally.
Along the years, there have been amendments to the original legislation to render it more receptive to operational adjustments and circumstances, including the payment of fees; provisional registration; priority of mortgages; ranking of credits; and bareboat charter registration among others. Such resilience has encouraged and supported the recent impressive expansion in the superyacht registration context.
Notwithstanding these achievements, this success should not serve as an alienation from the necessity to continuously review and adjust to ensure that the level of service being provided by both the private sector and the authorities is maintained and improved.
Earlier this year, the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects, headed by Minister Aaron Farrugia, launched the idea of a first National Policy for Superyachts during the Malta Superyacht Symposium jointly organised by the Malta Chamber and the Malta Maritime Law Association. The policy is expected to be released in the coming months. A steering committee, comprising prominent industry experts, among which the Malta Chamber and the MMLA, has been set up to evaluate several proposals by key industry players to identify how this industry can be further developed. These same key industry players, together with the steering committee, tackled several areas within the yachting sector. The policy is expected to be released in the coming months
The prime focus was that of achieving a more robust and clearer regulatory framework. Another area that was discussed was how to better equip and maintain the current infrastructure and cost structure. Additionally, the matter of how government departments and the private sector can work in tandem in an efficient manner was explored.
Government support was another topic of discussion and was considered at length. The discussion evolved on how the government can be of support to its agencies and authorities and to the private sector. Ultimately, green investment was also on the agenda of the steering committee where several proposals taking in consideration the environmental aspect in yachting were put forward and discussed.
It was made clear that the government’s mission is to further support the yachting industry in Malta and to consolidate Malta’s position as a leading yachting jurisdiction and as an international centre of maritime excellence in the Mediterranean. This will eventually lead to the contribution and creation of quality jobs in Malta. The need for such a policy is key for achieving and retaining excellence in the making is the outcome of consistent determination over the years, together with the outstanding quality and competence emanating from both the public and private sectors.
However, given the cutthroat competition, there’s no resting on one’s laurels. The National Yachting Policy is the way forward for Malta to achieve its objectives and remain the relevant go-to jurisdiction.
William Vella is a legal and compliance manager at Dixcart Management Malta Ltd and a member of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, the European Maritime Law Organisation and Malta Maritime Law Association.
Source: Times of Malta