Vessel Registration: everything you need to know

January 24, 2023

In this article we will see what are the key points when carrying out the Ship Registry, especially in Spain.

One of the key drivers of the Spanish economy is the fleet of ships operating in the main national ports. This is why, in Spain, it has long been determined, for a long time, a dual National Vessel Register system, which we explain below:

To begin with the vessel must be registered in the Commercial Register as well as in the Register of Registration Number.. Any movement, incidence or situation of the vessel must be strictly registered in the Commercial Registry.

In addition, the Registry of Registration Number is purely informative in nature as it contains all information relevant to: registration, change of name or list, transfer, year of creation,…
For a correct registration in the Commercial Registry, it is essential to carry out the following steps mainly considering the maritime district to which the vessel will belong.

But what about Spain? What should I mainly take into account?

To begin with, if you wish to be covered by Spanish law, it is mandatory and necessary to register the vessel in question. All vessels must have their registration plates registered in any official agency under the authority of the Directorate General of the Merchant Marine.

The registration will always be administrative and public nature. Upon registration, the ship will be placed under the control of the Maritime Authority corresponding premises.

Vessel registers generally consist of ‘’lists’’, an organizational system where all types of vessels are classified or floating vessels according to their capacity, activity or tonnage.

Need help registering a vessel? At Interseas we can help you with the necessary procedures for a correct National Vessel Register.

So, is it necessary to register any vessel?

As explained above, if you wish to benefit from the rights that the Spanish legislation itself offers to those registered vessels, it is necessary to carry out the National Register of Vessels.

Every registration of a vessel is strictly related to the Open Vessel Register. Although there are particularities: especially in recreational boats.

Whenever the vessel is newly created as a foreign vessel: always carry out the flag, a process by which the grants the license to hoist the national flag on the vessel.

All recreational boats less than 12 meters in length and with CE certification are eligible for registration. Además, it is mandatory for the manufacturer to duly inform the Spanish Maritime Register of the characteristics of the vessel.

What types of ship registers are there?

Vessel registries are classified in the lists mentioned in previous paragraphs. These lists organize a specific classification system of unique and exclusive use, that is, it is not possible to be registered in more than one list but only in a specific one.

Let’s discover the nine lists that exist in total:

  • LIST I: extraction platforms, support vessels and offshore tugboats.
  • LIST II: domestically built vessels engaged in the transportation of goods or passengers.
  • LIST III: vessels, national or imported, engaged in fishing.
  • LIST IV: auxiliary vessels for fishing or aquaculture.
  • LIST V: tugboats and vessels working in the port or harbor.
  • LIST VI: recreational boats for profit.
  • LIST VII: vessels engaged in sport or non-profit fishing.
  • LIST VIII: public agency vessels.
  • LIST IX: for vessels under construction.

What registration requirements do I have to take into account?

In order to properly register a vessel, the following documentation is required:

  • Declaration of conformity of the vessel and engine.
  • Valid ship inspection certificate.
  • Sale and purchase contract settled of the ITPYAJD tax (second hand boats).
  • Copy of the CIF / DNI / NIE of the owner.
  • ITB Report.
  • Certificate of deregistration from the country of origin when the origin is foreign.

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