Malta marina boats pexels

Nearly 3,000 vessels were stripped of their Maltese flag by the Malta Ship Registry between 2019 and 2024. Out of these, 89 were de-flagged in the first three months on the year, a MaltaToday report has said.  

While an average of 500 vessels were de-flagged each year, 2022 saw 800 vessels removed from the register.

Nonetheless, a totla of 4,273 vessels were registered, marking a net increase of 1,318 vessels over the five-year period.

In the report, a Transport Malta spokesperson said that the main reason for deletion of vessels are due to unpaid fees, failure to provide the necessary documentation for full-term registration, sale by judicial order or for non-compliance with the Merchant Shipping Act.

Additionally, an owner may also opt to delete the vessel from the registry for no reason and register it in another country.

While the registry has grown ever since its establishment in 1973, 2021 proved to be a record-breaking year for the registry, experiencing its highest surge in registered vessels, a net growth of 476 ships.

Similarly, while total gross tonnage of the registry expanded notably over the years, its peak was achieved in 2021, reaching 86 million gross tonnage.

The Malta Ship Registry is the EU’s largest ship register and currently stands among the top seven largest ship registries worldwide.


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