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Which ships are eligible for registration in the national shipping register(s) and which parties may register ships?

As regards vessels, registration is open to all types of ship, including offshore vessels such as oil rigs and floating platforms, with the exception of fishing vessels, hydrofoils and wooden vessels. Vessels must be classified by any of the eight recognised classification societies and comply with the relevant requirements in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) conventions, including:

  • the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea 1974;
  • the International Convention on Load Lines 1966;
  • the International Convention on the Tonnage Measurement of Ships 1969; and
  • the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978.

Vessels should be less than 17 years’ old and dispensations may be considered for vessels under special operating circumstances. Equipment and arrangements approved by other maritime administrations that comply with the IMO conventions are generally accepted.

Only the following may be registered as owners of Singapore vessels:

  • citizens or permanent residents of Singapore;
  • locally-owned companies incorporated in Singapore (ie, companies incorporated in Singapore with more than 50% of their equity owned by Singaporeans or another locally owned company and a minimum paid-up capital of S$50,000); or
  • foreign-owned companies incorporated in Singapore (ie, companies incorporated in Singapore with more than 50% of their equity owned by non-Singaporeans and a minimum paid-up capital of S$50,000). For foreign-owned companies, the vessel to be registered must be at least 1,600 gross tonnes and self-propelled.

The owner of a Singapore ship must appoint a commercial manager and a technical manager. The commercial manager, who must be resident in Singapore and may be an officer of the owning company or a management company, responsible for all matters concerning ship registration and crew manning. The technical manager is responsible for matters concerning the International Safety Management Code and International Ship and Port Facility Security Code and need not necessarily be resident in Singapore.


What are the procedural and documentary requirements for registration?

For ordinary registration, owners must write to the Singapore Registry of Ships (SRS) for approval of the vessel’s name, official number and call sign or signal letters. This should be done at least two weeks in advance. The owners must then submit the relevant documents for provisional or permanent registration. Thereafter, the owners must pay:

  • the initial registration fee at a rate of S$2.50 per net tonne to the nearest tonne subject to a minimum of S$1,250 (500 net tonnes) and a maximum of S$50,000 (20,000 net tonnes); and
  • the annual tonnage tax at a rate of S$0.20 per net tonne to the nearest tonne subject to a minimum of S$100 (500 net tonnes) and a maximum of S$10,000 (50,000 net tonnes).

The relevant documents required for a provisional registration are:

  • a completed application form;
  • a completed appointment of agent form (where required);
  • a completed appointment of manager form;
  • a business profile report of the company’s particulars from the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority;
  • a copy of the builder’s certificate for a new vessel;
  • a bill of sale, a transcript copy from the former registry or a bill of sale from a sheriff’s court (where applicable) for vessels transferring their flag;
  • a copy of a clean transcript from the former registry;
  • a letter of undertaking from the owner that the vessel will be free of registered encumbrances;
  • proof of the vessel’s value;
  • tonnage certificates from the Marine Port Authority or classification from authority-authorised societies authorised; and
  • an interim class certificate for new vessels or class maintenance certificate for vessels transferring their flag.

The documents required for a permanent registration are:

  • evidence of ownership;
  • an original carving and marking note;
  • an original deletion certificate;
  • a copy of the full-term class certificate;
  • a copy of the full-term tonnage certificate; and
  • a copy of the following trading certificates:
    • a cargo ship safety construction certificate;
    • a cargo ship safety equipment certificate (including Form E);
    • a cargo ship safety radio certificate (including Form R);
    • a 30-mile limit passenger ship safety certificate or port limit passenger ship safety certificate;
    • a safety certificate for high speed craft;
    • a mobile offshore drilling unit safety certificate;
    • an international load line certificate or Singapore load line certificate;
    • an international oil pollution prevention certificate and supplements or Singapore oil pollution prevention certificate;
    • an international air pollution prevention certificate and supplements or Singapore air pollution prevention certificate;
    • a document of compliance;
    • a safety management certificate;
    • an international ship security certificate;
    • an international certificate of fitness for the carriage of dangerous chemicals in bulk; and
    • an international pollution prevention certificate for the carriage of noxious liquid substances in bulk.

Grounds for refusal

On what grounds may a registration application be refused?

Under Section 8(3) of the Merchant Shipping Act (Cap 179), the Registrar of Ships can refuse to register any ship without assigning a reason.


Are there any particular advantages of flying your jurisdiction’s flag?

The SRS is a quality ship registry that ensures that ships and their owners meet the stringent criteria that entitle their ships to obtain Singapore nationality. It is highly regarded by many banks and ship financiers. Established in 1966, the SRS has almost 50 years’ experience and is managed by the Marine Port Authority. With more than 4,500 ships of approximately 85 million gross tonnes, the SRS is among the world’s top 10 registries and has one of the youngest quality fleets. The SRS is also on the ‘white list’ of two major port state control regimes – the Paris Memorandum of Understanding and the Tokyo Memorandum of Understanding. Detailed information on the SRS can be found here.

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