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Where to apply, vessel eligibility, authorized Classification Societies, IMO conventions, declarations and notarizations, and other general information.



Where to apply

Applications for registration of vessels under the flag of Vanuatu pursuant to the Maritime Act Cap.131, must be made to:

The Office of the Deputy Commissioner of Maritime Affairs
Republic of Vanuatu
39 Broadway, Suite 2020
New York, New York 10006, USA

Requests for information, official application forms and registration cost quotations may be directed to the above office via telephone, facsimile, telex or email (see contact details).

Vessels Eligibility

A vessel may be eligible for registration if it meets the following conditions:

  1. The vessel must be shown to be in a seaworthy condition at the time of registration
    1. For vessels classed with one of the Classification Societies listed below, submit a recently (within 10 days) issued Certificate of Confirmation of Class
    2. For vessels not classed with one of the Classification Societies listed below, submit a recent survey completed by a Vanuatu approved qualified independent marine surveyor that details the condition of hull, machinery, radio equipment and safety equipment on board the vessel and states that, in the opinion of the surveyor, the vessel is in sound and seaworthy condition for its intended use.
  2. The vessel shall not be more than 20 years of age from completion of first construction
    1. This condition may be waived by the Commissioner or a Deputy Commissioner in exceptional cases, upon application and where it is proven that the vessel meets the highest classification requirements of one of the Classification Societies listed below. An example of acceptable proof would be submission of the results of a recent (ie. within 6 months) special survey by the Class Society.
  3. The vessel must be owned by a citizen or national of Vanuatu
    1. For purposes of ownership a Vanuatu registered company meets this condition
    2. This condition may be waived by the Commissioner or a Deputy Commissioner upon application and where it is proven that there is an absolute and genuine need for such waiver.
  4. If the vessel is a pleasure yacht it must be over 50 net registered tons and a declaration be submitted that it will be used solely for pleasure ie. it will not carry paying passengers or cargo.

Authorized Classification Societies

All vessels must be classed with one of the following Classification Societies unless prior approval is obtained from the Commissioner or a Deputy Commissioner:

  1. American Bureau of Shipping
  2. Bureau Veritas
  3. China Classification Society (ZC)
  4. Det Norske Veritas
  5. Germanischer Lloyd
  6. Korean Register of Shipping
  7. Lloyd's Register of Shipping
  8. Nippon Kaiji Kyokai
  9. Polish Register of Shipping
  10. Registro Italiano Navale
  11. Russian Maritime Register of Shipping, or
  12. Any other international ship classification society as may be authorized by the Commissioner or a Deputy Commissioner

International Maritime Organization Conventions

Vessels registered under the Maritime Act and flying the Vanuatu flag must meet the requirements of the following International Maritime Conventions where appropriate.

  1. International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, including the Protocol of 1978 (as amended)
  2. International Load Line Convention, 1966
  3. International Convention for the Prevenetion of Pollution from Ships, 1973 (MARPOL 73/78 as amended)
    1. Convention on Tanker Safety Pollution Prevention
    2. Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Oil (Annex I of MARPOL 73/78)
    3. Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Noxious Liquid Substances in Buil (Annex II of MARPOL 73/78)
    4. Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Harmful Substances Carried in Package Form (Annex III of MARPOL 73/78)
    5. Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Garbage from Ships (Annex V of MARPOL 73/78)
  4. International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1969, including Protocol of 1976.
  5. International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships, 1969 (Tonnage 69)
  6. International Telecommunications Convention and Radio Regulations, 1965
  7. International Sanitary Regulations, 1951 (as amended)
  8. Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic, 1966
  9. International Convention for Safe Containers, 1972 (as amended)
  10. Athens Convention Relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea, 1974, including the Protocol of 1976
  11. International Convention on the Construction of Mobile Offshore Drilling Units 1979, 1989 and 2002 (as amended)
  12. International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978

Declarations and Notarizations

The 1989 Maritime Act amendment has substantially reduced the need for notarization of documents. The requirement for notarization has been retained only for documents of prime importance such as Bills of Sale, Mortgages and Instruments of Conveyance. Other applications and documents may be submitted supported by a declaration under penalty of perjury that they contain true and accurate representations of the facts. Such declarations may be made before any one of the following:

  1. Commissioner of Maritime Affairs;
  2. Deputy Commissioner of Maritime Affairs;
  3. Vanuatu Consul or Consular Official;
  4. Any Notary Public or other officer authorized by the laws of the place where the declaration is administered;
  5. A Special Agent for the Commissioner of Maritime Affairs of Vanuatu;
  6. A Solicitor, Barrister, or Attorney admitted to practice in the country where the declaration is administered;
  7. Any other person specifically designated by the Commissioner for taking declarations

Number of Copies

All applications and supporting documents must be submitted in duplicate except for Mortgages where 5 originals or 1 original and 4 counterparts must be submitted for recordation and Bills of Sale where 4 originals or 1 original and 3 counterparts are required.

If the document is not in English, a certified translation must accompany the document.

Payment of Fees

All required fees are payable to the Deputy Commissioner of Maritime Affairs - Republic of Vanuatu at time of registration, net without deduction by either check payable in United States dollars drawn on a United States bank and payable in New York City or by wire transfer to the:

Citibank N.A.,
One Broadway,
New York, N.Y. 10004
Fees Account No. 96655836
ABA No. 021000089


Special Agents

Vanuatu has established an organization of Special Agents in major ports around the world. These agents have been chosen for their experience in shipping and maritime law. Agents are located in Hong Kong, Tokyo, London, Monaco, Oslo, Athens, Geneva, Dubai, and other ports and are there to assist the ship owner. Please contact the New York office for details.

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