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    • Malta Surpasses Greece, with largest ship register in Europe

    • For the first time in maritime history Malta has the largest ship register in Europe, surpassing even Greece which had been the biggest maritime nation for many years, Transport Minister Austin Gatt said yesterday.

      Dr Gatt said that Malta has increased its tonnage by 16% over 2010, with 5,830 vessels registering on the island last year, so it now ranks first in Europe and seventh in the world. For the fourth consecutive year direct income from this sector is almost €13 million, Dr Gatt said, adding that these results are no coincidence but the outcome of offering a good quality service, which is recognised by ship owners worldwide. “All types of ships are registering in Malta, not only cargo ships and containers.

      Even super yachts and large cruise liner companies, such as Royal Cruises and TUI are registering ships in Malta,” he said. After four years working at growing the sector, nearly 300 super yachts had registered in Malta by last year, again registering a 19% increase. This generates a great deal of foreign currency and work locally.

      Financial incentives are not enough to bring so many owners to Malta, but the quality of service that one offers and the flag’s status. Malta’s flag has been on the white list for a number of years now and bears a certain reputation, he said.

      For the first time last year Malta’s flag was recognised as ‘low risk’ and the service offered by Malta is ‘second to none’, Dr Gatt said. He said that the maritime registry was present in many prominent foreign events, as marketing and employee training are crucial to maintaining quality.

      Dr Gatt said that the register did not include just any vessel, since there were criteria such as age and condition to be factored in. The registry never closes, and owners having a problem at any time will find someone 24/7.

      Dr Gatt said the employees are a major asset and thanked the Registrar General Ivan Sammut, and his predecessor Lino Vassallo, for their hard work.

      Source:   The Malta Independent 21 January 2012