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Vessels Eligible for Registration in the RMI
Seagoing vessels of any tonnage engaged in foreign trade and yachts are eligible for registration in the RMI. (See Section 203 of the Maritime Act.) Inquiries and applications for the registration of vessels in the RMI may be submitted to any Regional Office. All applications for provisional registration are subject to approval by the Administrator. Accordingly, the mere submission of an application for provisional registration does not ensure that a vessel will be accepted for entry into the RMI registry.
As described in Section 203 of the Maritime Act, vessels should be owned by an RMI citizen or national or a qualified foreign maritime entity. The term citizen or national includes RMI corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, limited partnerships, and associations of individuals.
The rights and benefits of ownership depend upon international recognition of their validity under RMI law. In addition, the international legal requirements incidental to proof of title, and therefore the marketability of the ship, require registration of ownership in accordance with established national law. This applies both to registration and to bareboat registration under Sections 260-264 of the Maritime Act. A courtesy copy of the RMI Associations Law 1990, as amended, is available upon request from any Regional Office or may be found on our website here.
For further information and instructions on incorporation please contact: [email protected].
Vessels should not be more than 20 years old at the time of registration. A Wavier of Age may be granted by the Administrator if the owner applies for this on registering the vessel. The application to the Administrator must be accompanied by all other requirements and any additional evidence required.
Any vessel granted a Waiver of Age will have a comprehensive initial inspection and at least one additional follow-up inspection during the first year in the registry.
Bulk carriers 15 years old or older must have a pre-registration inspection.
All other vessels 20 years old or older must have a pre-registration inspection.
Registration applications for vessels 15 years old or older should be submitted with a Status Report of the vessel’s Statutory Certification and a copy of its latest Intermediate or Special Survey.
All vessels, except fishing vessels and certain yachts, are required to be classed by a Classification Society which is recognized by the Administrator as being in full compliance with the International Maritime Organization (“IMO”) Code for Recognized Organizations (Resolutions MSC. 349(92) and MEPC.237(65)). A list of the Classification Societies currently approved for the issuance of International Convention Statutory Certificates on behalf of RMI may be found in RMI Marine Guideline 2-11-15.
Only those fishing vessels that are operated by an RMI-resident entity and that regularly land their catches in RMI waters or aboard RMI-registered processing vessels will be considered for registration. Special local regulations and licensing applies to such vessels.
As standard practice, the Administrator undertakes a thorough vetting process of all vessels seeking registration and registration changes. The vetting process includes due diligence screening of the owning and operating entities, to include actual beneficial ownership of the vessel. For this reason, all natural persons in the vessel ownership structure who ultimately hold a 25% or greater interest in the vessel must be identified along with the country in which each resides. In the event the vessel ownership structure terminates with no natural person(s) ultimately owning 25% or more interest in the vessel, a statement must be provided to that effect. Alternatively, if all of the ultimate owning legal entities are publicly traded, a statement to that effect must be provided and the ultimate owning legal entity or entities identified.
All beneficial ownership information pertaining to a vessel registration is requested for trade compliance purposes only and is considered strictly confidential. Such information will not be disclosed to any third parties unless pursuant to a valid governmental request or court order.
RMI-registered vessels are not restricted from calling in any country. However, because the RMI-registered fleet receives administrative and technical assistance from IRI and its global network of subsidiaries, the services available to a vessel seeking registration, and all related parties, may be heavily impacted by other international trade regimes and the corporate policy adopted by IRI in response to those regimes.
The US has five effective comprehensive embargoes in place against Iran, Syria, Cuba, North Korea, and the Crimea region of Ukraine. IRI, as a matter of corporate policy, has adopted those comprehensive embargoes. Therefore, no new business, i.e., vessel registration, corporate formation, etc., can be undertaken from any IRI office, including all global subsidiaries, with any known parties, legal or natural, which are resident in these nations or regions.