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

As far as relevant, Law 30/1998 instituted the Italian International Registry for vessels dedicated to international traffic. The law has since been implemented by subsequent legislation.

The Italian International Registry cannot be used to register:

  • war vessels;
  • state vessels which do not operate in commercial business;
  • fishing vessels; and
  • pleasure boats.

The registry is divided into the following sections:

  • vessels owned by an Italian or EU shipowner as provided by Article 143(1a) of the Navigation Code;
  • vessels of new construction or originating from non-EU registries and owned by non-EU shipowners that:
    • manage the ships through a permanent establishment located in the Italian territory in which the ship is registered; and
    • will bear any liability for the management of the ship before the Italian authorities and third parties; and
  • vessels owned by non-EU shipowners provided that the flag of the vessel has been suspended by the foreign register pursuant to Article 145 of the Navigation Code because the owner has bareboat chartered the vessel to an Italian or EU shipowner.

Pursuant to Article 143(1a) of the Navigation Code, a vessel is considered to be an Italian or EU vessel insofar as an Italian or EU individual or company owns more than 12 carats of it.


What are the procedural and documentary requirements for registration?

Shipowners must obtain the Ministry of Transport authorisation prescribed by Law 30/1998 and thereafter deliver the relevant documents to the local harbour master.

In order to be registered, a vessel must:

  • be authorised to carry no more than 12 passengers (excluding the crew);
  • be furnished with a certificate of class issued by an authorised organisation;
  • comply with Security Regulation 95/2005; and
  • have a crew that includes at least a captain and two other members who are of Italian or EU nationality and whose members fulfil the requirements provided by Regulation 121/2005.

Ministry Decree 57/2017 introduced a simplified procedure for applying for ministry authorisation. Indeed, applicants can now send the application together with the relevant documentation by certified email.

Grounds for refusal

On what grounds may a registration application be refused?

An application may be refused for lack of requirements.


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

Advantages include:

  • a tax reduction of 80% on the income produced through use of the ship; and
  • recognition of a tax credit in relation to the wages paid by the shipowner to the crew.