The International Shipping Registry of Madeira (RIN-MAR) was created in the 1980s as a part of the International Business Center of Madeira (MIBC) to prevent the flagging out of vessels from the European Union to other less burdensome, less transparent and ultimately less secure shipping registries.
RIN-MAR was considered, in November 2016, the fourth largest international shipping register of the European Union, reaching the largest number of vessels since its creation and the third in terms of tonnage.
The main statistics provided by RIN- MAR’s Technical Commission at the end of 2016, were the following:
|Number of ships||Average Age||Gross Tonnage||Crew|
RIN-MAR allows for the registration of all type of commercial vessels (except fishing vessels), commercial and pleasure yachts and oil rig platforms.
Companies, forms of partnerships, branches, agencies and legal representatives may apply to register vessels in RIN-MAR.
All reputable Classification Societies acknowledged by Portugal are entitled to undertake surveys and other services in respect of vessel registration, namely:
- The credits secured by a shipping mortgage are considered secured privilege credits with the right to be paid with the product of the sale of the vessel with preference to other creditors of the same debtor. Privileged credits, they rank in third place just immediately after (i) the costs and legal expenses made in the common interest of the creditors and (ii) the wages due to assistance and salvation; incurred in the ship’s last voyage or because of it;
- Vessels registered in RIN-MAR may be owned and operated by a foreign company and no restrictions in respect to the nationality or residence of the owners or directors of the company apply.
- In case the vessel is owned by a foreign entity that entity must appoint a Portuguese representative to deal with compliance matters and be specially empowered to receive notifications and services of process in respect to the vessel(s);
- A very flexible and competitive mortgage system applies, allowing the mortgagor and the mortgagee to choose, by written agreement in the mortgage document, the legal system of a particular jurisdiction to govern the mortgage. In the lack of such an agreement, the Portuguese mortgage law shall be applicable;
- Guarantee to the mortgagee of full payment of all credits secured by the mortgage in the event of sale to third parties of the mortgaged vessel. The third party is not able to sustain the value of the mortgaged property for an amount less than those credits;
- Exemption or reduced stamp duty applies to contracts, acts and documents (namely mortgages) whenever related to entities licensed to operate in the international scope of the MIBC, including vessels registered in RIN-MAR, depending on whether those entities (shipping companies) operate under the III or the IV Tax Regime of Incentives;
- Exemption of registration fees and other registration taxes in acts related to the registration of the property, mortgages and other acts pertaining to vessels registered in RIN-MAR;
- Competitive initial registration and annual maintenance fees for the vessels registered in RIN-MAR;
- Possibility of temporary registration in RIN-MAR of vessels under a bareboat charter, with the written authorization of the underlying register, the mortgagees and the ship owner;
- Relative flexibility of the crew nationality requirements: only 30% of the crew must have Portuguese, European or Portuguese speaking countries nationalities (Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, S. Tomé). There are no restrictions in the remaining 70%;
- Application to MAR of all International Maritime Conventions ratified by Portugal.
- Exemption to contribute to the Portuguese social security regime for shipping companies with vessels registered in RIN-MAR and their respective non-Portuguese crew members.
- These crew members shall nonetheless enjoy any type of social protection regime covering illness, professional illness and parenthood.
- The wages of crews onboard of commercial vessels registered in RIN-MAR are exempt of individual income tax in Portugal.
- Madeira Shipping companies enjoy important tax benefits at the level of the Corporate Income Tax and stamp duty on financing agreements.