Smooth Sailing Ahead: The Benefits of Ship Registry in Madeira

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Smooth Sailing Ahead: The Benefits of Ship Registry in Madeira

by | Tuesday, 30 April 2024 | Shipping

ship registry

As the maritime industry continues to evolve, ship and yacht owners are constantly seeking jurisdictions offering attractive vessel registration benefits. One such jurisdiction that has gained significant attention is Madeira, a Portuguese archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean. The International Shipping Register of Madeira (MAR) provides a comprehensive and advantageous ship registry solution for owners worldwide. In this article, we will explore the numerous benefits of registering a ship in Madeira, including its tax incentives, high-quality register, flexible crew requirements, and more.

The International Shipping Register of Madeira (MAR)

The International Shipping Register of Madeira (MAR) was established in 1989 as part of the Madeira International Business Centre (MIBC) “package” of taxation benefits. It has quickly become an attractive jurisdiction for ship and yacht registration, with over half a million vessels currently registered with MAR. Additionally, MAR is ranked as the fourth international shipping register in the European Union, further solidifying its reputation and credibility.

Advantages of Ship Registration in Madeira

Access to European Waters

One key advantage of registering a vessel with the Madeira ship registry is its unrestricted access to European Union waters. Vessels registered with MAR carry the Portuguese flag, allowing them to navigate freely within EU cabotage. This opens up a world of possibilities for ship and yacht owners, enabling them to explore and conduct business within European waters without any restrictions.

High-Quality and Credible Register

MAR prides itself on maintaining a high standard of quality and credibility. The register is whitelisted in Paris and Med MoU, making it a recognized and respected flag. It is not regarded as a flag of convenience and has never been classified as such by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). This distinction ensures that vessels registered with MAR are held to rigorous international standards, providing owners with peace of mind and a reputable presence in the maritime industry.

Tax Incentives

The Portuguese government is committed to boosting the maritime economy and has implemented specific tax incentives for companies operating within the International Business Centre of Madeira (MIBC). Owners can enjoy favourable tax rates by registering a vessel with MAR and establishing an MIBC company engaged in maritime transportation. These incentives include a corporate income tax rate of 5% until 2027, automatic VAT registration, access to the Portuguese double taxation treaty network, exemption from withholding taxes on dividends, interest, royalties, service fees paid to non-residents, and exemption from capital duty, notary, and registration fees.

Flexible Crew Requirements

MAR offers flexibility in crew composition. Only 30% of the safety manning must be “European,” including Portuguese-speaking nationals and citizens of other European countries. This allows for a diverse crew, accommodating individuals from various backgrounds and nationalities. Furthermore, crew wages are exempt from income tax and social security charges in Portugal, providing additional financial benefits for crew members and vessel owners.

Competitive Registration and Service Fees

Vessel owners will find that MAR provides competitive registration and service fees and offers bulk discounts, making it an attractive option for registering multiple vessels. These cost advantages, combined with the numerous other benefits of the ship registry in Madeira, make it a compelling choice for ship and yacht owners seeking a cost-effective and efficient registration process.

Flexible Mortgage System

MAR offers a flexible mortgage system, allowing the mortgagor and the mortgagee to choose the legal system of a specific country to govern the mortgage terms. This flexibility provides added convenience for vessel owners and lenders, ensuring the mortgage terms align with their particular requirements and preferences.

Temporary Registration

MAR allows for temporary registration of vessels, including bareboat charters. This temporary registration, “In” and “Out,” provides flexibility for owners who may only require registration for a specific period or purpose. This feature mainly benefits those engaged in short-term projects or chartering arrangements.

Recognition and Exceptional Standards

Vessels under the Portuguese flag and registered with MAR are included in the Qualship 21 Index of the United States of America. This prestigious certificate recognizes the exceptional standards of the Madeira International Shipping Register, further highlighting its commitment to quality and compliance with international regulations.

Digitalization and Efficiency

MAR has embraced digitalization in the maritime transport sector, implementing an efficient digital system that allows for the dematerialization of all procedures and the issuance of electronic certificates. This system aligns with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Guidelines for electronic certificates. It facilitates information sharing, improves security and traceability of documentation, and reduces administrative burdens.


In conclusion, ship registration in Madeira offers numerous advantages for vessel owners worldwide. The International Shipping Register of Madeira (MAR) provides a high-quality, credible, secure register allowing unrestricted access to European waters. The tax incentives, flexible crew requirements, competitive fees, and flexible mortgage system make Madeira an attractive jurisdiction for ship and yacht registration. By choosing Madeira as their ship registry destination, owners can benefit from the expertise and support of a jurisdiction that facilitates a smooth sailing experience in the maritime industry.

For more information on ship or yacht registration in Madeira and to explore the benefits further, do not hesitate to contact us.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Readers are advised to consult professional advisors before deciding on ship or yacht registration in Madeira.

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