Ship & Yacht Registration

In 2006, Antigua and Barbuda enacted a new consolidated and revised Merchant Shipping Act, and ratified or acceded to all major maritime conventions of the International Maritime Organization and the International Labour Organization; these further enhanced its jurisdiction as a leading international maritime service provider.

The procedures for ship registration or parallel (bareboat) registration are efficient. With the submission of required documentation, ADOMS will provide a timely response. The registration fees are competitive with other jurisdictions and are transparent.

The principal offices of the Maritime Administration and the Antigua and Barbuda Ship Registry ( ) are located in St John’s, Antigua.

The Antigua And Barbuda Ship and Yacht Registry has embarked on a strategic, diverse, sustained marketing and promotional drive to attract non-convention size vessels, yachts and pleasure vessels of all sizes to its Registry. To ensure that safety, security and environmentally sound standards are maintained, the Department of Marine Services and Merchant Shipping (ADOMS), through the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, has adopted the Caribbean Cargo Ship Safety Code, the Small Commercial Vessel Code and the United Kingdom’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency Large Commercial Yacht Code.

Pursuant to the Merchant Shipping Act, a ship or a yacht must be owned wholly by persons to whom one of the following descriptions applies:

  • Citizen of Antigua and Barbuda;
  • Public Bodies of Antigua and Barbuda;
  • An external company or a partnership concern registered under the Companies Act;
  • Authorized public bodies corporate. This corporate body should be one that:
    (a) is established under and subject to the laws of Antigua and Barbuda;
    (b) has its principal place of business in Antigua and Barbuda; and
    (c) at least fifty-one percent of its share capital is held by citizens of Antigua and Barbuda;
  • A corporation registered under the IBC Act; and
  • A national of a Member State of the Caribbean Community or the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and
  • Any other person approved by the Cabinet as qualification for registration of Antigua and Barbuda ships or yachts.
  • The Owner of the ship has appointed a principal representative in Antigua and Barbuda.
    (a) An attorney-at-law qualified to practice law in Antigua and Barbuda
    (b) a corporate management and trust services provider appointed under the Corporate  Management and Trust Service Providers Act; or
    (c) any other qualification as may be prescribed by regulations; and
    (d) have a power of attorney sufficient to satisfy the director that the principal representative is authorised to act for the Owners of the ship in all matters to secure compliance with this Act and the Regulations.

Thus, prior to the registration of a ship or yacht under the Antigua and Barbuda Flag, foreign ships or yacht owners must incorporate an IBC or effect the registration of an external company under the Antigua and Barbuda Companies Act; thereafter, the IBC or external company is deemed to own the ship or yacht for inclusion on the Register of Ships or Yachts.

To assist in the incorporation of an IBC for Ship or Yacht Registration, download and complete the application form then submit it to NMSL.