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

All ships are eligible for registration in the national shipping register, provided that they comply with the applicable rules in force regarding the type of ship. Shipowners are entitled to apply for the register. Temporary registration is also possible on the basis of a time charter contract. Portugal has a second register of ships, the Madeira International Shipping Register.


What are the procedural and documentary requirements for registration?

The procedure starts with an application for registration, including all the necessary supporting documents. Evidence of ownership must be provided, showing a valid title as well as the full characteristics of the ship, by means of a building certificate or the last issued certificates for the ship. The ship must undergo a technical inspection for the purposes of registration approval and establishment of the necessary flag technical certificates (eg, minimum crew on board and safety conditions necessary for the operation of the ship). Commercial ships are to be registered at both the harbour master office and the commercial register.

Grounds for refusal

On what grounds may a registration application be refused?

Grounds for refusal may include lack of documentary evidence of ownership or non-compliance with technical requirements considering the type of ship and the shipping activity to be developed.


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

The Portuguese flag is a flag of the European Union and on the Whitelist of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding. Ships registered in the Madeira International Shipping Register also sail under the Portuguese flag.

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