Ship Registration


Shipping Procedures & Cost

  • Annual Taxes
  • Special Condition
  • Ship-owner Eligibility
  • Provisional Registration
  • Fishing Vessels
  • Permanent Registration
  • Bareboat Charter Registration
  • Special Registration
  • Manning Requirements
  • Endorsements of Officers Certificates
  • The General Safety Inspection Program
  • Recording of Documents
  • Our Fees


New Registration Pleasure Crafts (Yachts) Non-Commercial

With effect from 15TH March 2005, the tariffs for New Registrations for Pleasure Crafts (Yachts) utilized for non-commercial purposes between 6 meters up to 25 meters only are being revised as follows:

Registration Fees

Registration Fee US$100.00

Annual radio license fee US$ 50.00

Annual Taxes

For yachts from 6 meters up to 15 meters in length: US$250.00

For yachts of 15 meters up to 25 meters in length: US$500.00

The registration requirements for Pleasure Crafts (Yachts) will remain the same. Detailed below are the safety requirements:

  1. Tonnage Measurement Certificate (Simplified Method) to be issued by our Administration for a fee of US$100.00. This is a permanent certificate which will not require re-issuance.
  2. Certificate of Compliance for Pleasure Craft with a 5 year validity and subject to an annual endorsement. The Owner may choose this to be issued by :

Our Administration itself by its own appointed surveyor(s) and endorsed annually subsequent to an inspection of the vessel for a fee of US$500 per annum or

By one of our ROs at their current charge or in the event that a vessel is in a remote area where none of the above-mentioned options are available, by a surveyor of Owner’s choice whose competency qualifications etc., must be approved in advance by our Administration for this purpose only.

Special Condition

In the event that a pleasure craft is under repair/laid up at a shipyard or marina then, upon presentation to us of a written confirmation to this effect from a local authority, it will be entitled to a grace period of 2 months for the re-issuance of any certificates which have expired. In the event that this period is exceeded, the pleasure craft will automatically be deleted "ex-officio".

Ship-owner Eligibility

There are no requirements concerning local ownership or participation in ownership.

Provisional Registration

In accordance with The Registration of Merchant Ships Act 1989, as amended by Act No. 5 of 1996, a provisional registration is valid for six months. During this time, the ship-owner or his representative is expected to gather all documents necessary for permanent registration.

The following documentation is required:

  • Request for confirmation of availability of vessel's name
  • Application for Registration of Ships form duly completed and signed by the applicant. One application for each vessel is required. This application includes the necessary information for the issuance of a Provisional Ship Station License.
  • Proof of Ownership in the form of a Bill of Sale, Auction Document or Builder’s Certificate
  • Power of Attorney appointing a shipping agent in Belize
  • Valid Cargo Ship Safety Radio Certificate in compliance with GMDSS Code (where applicable)
  • International Tonnage Certificate (where applicable)
  • Proof of compliance with ISM Code-Copy of Document of Compliance and Safety Management Certificate (where applicable)
  • Application for Minimum Safe Manning Certificate
  • Letter of confirmation from an authorized radio accounting entity undertaking the payment of vessels radio accounts
  • Letter of undertaking from ship owner that the applications for the Endorsements of Licenses for officers will be submitted

For provisional registration, the above-mentioned documents may be submitted by fax.

Vessels under construction may be granted provisional registration under special conditions.

A Provisional Patent of Navigation and a Provisional Ship Station License may be obtained from Head Office or from one of the Registry's Designated Offices worldwide.

Fishing Vessels

For the registration of fishing vessels, the application will require data as to the intended area of fishing, the specification of the particular type and means of fishing as well as the species targeted. Fishing vessels discharging their catch at European ports are required to pass a special sanitary inspection in compliance with the relevant EU directives.

Fishing vessels are subject to the regional and international regulations applicable in the area of fishing that are implemented by regional organizations such as ICCAT, bilateral or multilateral agreements for the protection of certain areas or endangered marine species.

Permanent Registration

Permanent Registration is valid for five years and can be effected immediately if all the required documents have been submitted. Otherwise, it can be effected during or at the end of the provisional registration period once the necessary documentation has been submitted to the Registry together with the applicable fees.

The following documentation is required:

  • Original or certified true copy of a duly notarized Bill of Sale, Judicial Sale Instrument or Builder's Certificate
  • Original Deletion Certificate from previous registry
  • Original or certified true copy of the Power of Attorney appointing a shipping agent in Belize
  • Valid Cargo Ship Safety Radio Certificate in compliance with GMDSS Code issued by a Recognized Organization on behalf of the Government of Belize (where applicable)
  • Application form for Maritime Ship Station License duly completed
  • International Tonnage Certificate issued by a Recognized Organization on behalf of the Government of Belize (where applicable)
  • Copies of Document of Compliance and Safety Management Certificate issued by a recognized organization on behalf of the Government of Belize (where applicable)

All documents submitted must be in the English language or, if they are in a foreign language, they must be accompanied by an official translation thereof.

If an original is to be submitted, a notary public or other recognized and authorized public official must certify the authenticity of the signature(s) that appear(s) on the document as well as the authority of the person(s) executing the document.

If a photocopy is to be submitted, a notary public or other recognized and authorized public official must certify the authenticity of the signature(s) that appear on the document as well as the authority of the person(s) executing the document, and must certify that the document is a true copy of its original.

Our Deputy Registrars are authorized by our Registry to perform as certifying officials for such purposes.

Special Registrations

IMMARBE also accepts vessels to be registered for a short period under special circumstances such as one delivery voyage for scrap. Procedures for special registration allow for documents to be issued with a validity of three months and automatic expiration when this period elapses. This special status does not entitle the vessel to a Deletion Certificate.

Registration of vessels of 7501 GT and above:

New quality criteria were introduced with effect from 1st November 2001. Basically the same procedure for registration is followed as for vessels up to 7500 GT except that:

  • All applicants must confirm that they have Third Party Liability Insurance Cover e.g. P&I cover.
  • Applications must be accompanied by a copy of the ISM Document of Compliance as well as a copy of the Safety Management Certificate or Confirmation from the Recognized Organization that the company is in the process of attaining certification of the latter.
  • Permanent status does not require renewal every 5 years.
  • Only vessels classed with IACS may be accepted.
  • Certificate of Deletion from previous Registry or permission to transfer or delete or other proof of consent to transfer Registry from current Registry is required.

Bareboat Charter Registration

Foreign vessels may be registered at IMMARBE as a second flag ("Charter in") under the terms of a bareboat charter party provided that the original Registry grants its consent in writing. Upon submission of an authenticated copy of the bareboat charter party, the consent from the original registry and the corresponding fees, navigation and ship station licenses valid for up to two years will be issued.

A vessel registered at IMMARBE may obtain a parallel registration in another country's registry without affecting its status in Belize ("Charter out") also based on a charter party. For this purpose, the applicant shall submit a formal application giving full details of the bareboat charter party. If satisfied that all formalities have been complied with, the Registry's Head Office may authorize the vessel's dual registration for a period of up to two years. During the term of the dual registration, all relevant annual and other fees will be payable to the Registry. Its title and any liens or encumbrances thereon shall be recorded at IMMARBE.

Manning Requirements

Every Belize registered ship must be in possession of a valid certificate of Minimum Safe Manning MSM which is issued by IMMARBE in accordance with the IMO regulations and specifies the minimum number and composition of the crew complement.

A completed application form together with the corresponding fee may be submitted directly to the Head Office or through any Designated Office for Head Office approval. This certificate can only be issued by the Deputy Registrars at Head Office or at the Designated Offices.

The issuance of the MSM Certificate is guided by Resolution A 890(21) of the International Maritime Organization. Owners may apply for a reduced manning scale should their ships be designed and constructed with unattended machinery space, or are approved with any other machinery automation or remote controls, or trading in restricted areas. Any request for a reduction or for a special complement must be justified by the applicant for evaluation by Head Office.

Endorsement of Officers' Certificates

Belize was placed on the IMO STCW White List in November 2001. The procedures for issuance of such Endorsements by IMMARBE are based on equivalence, requiring evidence that the applicant is in possession of an appropriate, recognized and valid certificate from a country that is on the IMO White List.

The General Safety Inspection Programme

All vessels registered at IMMARBE are subject to a safety inspection in order to ensure compliance with the national and international regulations. For this purpose an Inspection Fee is charged in the Annual Fees collected for each vessel. The inspection programme contemplates an annual General Safety Inspection, but the Administration may order a re-inspection or a special inspection when it is considered necessary.

The General Safety Inspections can only be performed by inspectors who are authorized by IMMARBE for this purpose. They are paid directly by IMMARBE's Head Office. Each inspection is coordinated by the Head Office.

Recording of Documents

The recording of title deeds, mortgages, liens and encumbrances or any other assignments relating to any registered vessel is governed by the Merchant Shipping Act and may be requested through any Designated Office. Recording of documents may be either:

Preliminary recording or Permanent recording

The preliminary recording of documents may be effected either by the Head Office or by any of the Designated Offices on the basis of an application submitted to the latter and forwarded to the Head Office for the records entry.

The preliminary recording of documents is valid for six calendar months and has the same legal effect as permanent recording. In the event that the permanent recording is not accomplished prior to the expiration of this period, the preliminary recording will lapse.

The permanent recording of documents may be requested at any time within the six months validity of the preliminary recording or immediately if all necessary documents are to hand.

Should the documents for recording be in a language other than English, they must be accompanied by a notarized official translation into English. After completion of the procedures, a Certificate of Recording will be produced by IMMARBE and delivered to the applicant.

The recording of the vessel's ownership title is required for the completion of the vessel's registration as well as for the recording of mortgages, liens or encumbrances upon the vessel.