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

In general, all ships except riverine vessels weighing more than 15 tons or fishing vessels are eligible for registration. There are two registries for ship registration. Ships can be registered under Part IIA of the Merchant Shipping Ordinance, which is the domestic register; this is open to Malaysian shipowners and companies which are majority owned and managed by Malaysians. The other registry is the Malaysian International Ship Registry, which is open to Malaysian corporations which are majority owned by non-Malaysians.


What are the procedural and documentary requirements for registration?

The application for registration is made by submitting the following:

  • the application form;
  • a statutory declaration of the owner containing the prescribed particulars;
  • a notice of the proposed name;
  • proof of Malaysian citizenship if the applicant is an individual or the following if the applicant is a corporation:
  • a certified copy of the memorandum and articles of association;
  • certification under common seal that the majority shareholding (including voting share of the corporation) is held by Malaysian citizens who are free from trust or obligation in favour of non-Malaysians; and
  • an authority form appointing the public officer authorised to make declarations on behalf of the owner;
  • the builder’s certificate, for registration of newly built vessels;
  • the deletion certificate, where the vessel was previously registered with another port;
  • the authenticated original bill of sale;
  • the certificate of survey issued by the surveyor of ships;
  • the memorandum as to the registration of the managing owners; and
  • certification from the Customs Department as to import duty.

The application is submitted to one of the ports of registry at Penang, Port Klang, Kuching or Kota Kinabalu for the domestic register and at Labuan for the international register. The vessel must be surveyed and marked before acceptance of registration.

Grounds for refusal

On what grounds may a registration application be refused?

Registration may be refused if the ship-owning company does not meet the Malaysian shareholding and management requirement.


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

The Malaysian Ship Register is one of the most economical registers in the world and includes many established carriers (eg, MISC and other energy carriers). Vessels flying the Malaysian flag can carry domestic cargo (ie, cargo between Malaysian ports).

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