A registry that is open only to ships of its own nation is known as a traditionalor national registry. In other words they allow only vessels that are owned by companies or persons that are residents of that country.

Traditionally, closed registries have a two-fold requirement, firstly, incorporation in country of registration and secondly, principal place
of business in country of registration.

In a closed registry, the tax is charged on the earnings as compared to open, wherein the taxes are on the basis of tonnage.


International Registry has virtually no restrictions, however, this has led to allegations of sub-standard ships. International registry incorporates second registry, hybrid system and bareboat charter registration.

Open registers denote flags of convenience for ships. More than half of the world’s shipping countries follow open registry, such as Panama, Liberia and Bahamas.

A ship registered in a country is required to fly the flag of that country and is entitled to the privileges and protection of the country. Registration provides title to a ship which is important for the ship to enter into trade relations.




Secondary Registry is also known as Offshore Registry. It permit as an economic incentive, the hiring of foreign crews at wages lower than those payable to domestic crews.

It was viewed as an alternative to open registry,  to counter its effects on shipping. Prior to the advent of secondary registry,  traditional maritime countries were offering various forms of financial incentives to ship owners, thus the main objective of secondary Registry was the phasing out of subsidy and incentive schemes .



Hybrid registers offer attractive combinations of national and open registry features designed to lure shipowners. Just as open registers developed in response to national registries, so hybrid registers have developed in response to open registries.

They are easier to access and have fewer entry requirements than
most national registries. They tend to maintain a nationality link between beneficial owner or management of the vessel and the flag State. In general, hybrid registries tend to offer financial incentives and advantages similar to open registers.

Many hybrid registers are maintained for use only by national shipowners as an alternative to flagging out and as a way to compete with the open registry system.

However, some hybrids allow foreign shipowners access to the registry once certain technical standards are met. The Norwegian and Danish International Ship Registers, the Isle of Man, and Madeira permit foreign owned or controlled vessels in certain circumstances while the German and the French International Ship Registers do not have nationality requirements.


4 responses

    • According to the registration of ship act in india, ‘A ship entitled to fly the flag of a country needs to be registered in that country. The object of registration is to ensure that persons who are entitled to the privilege and protection of the Indian flag get them. The registration affords evidence of title off the ship to those who deal with the property in question. It also gives protection to the members of the crew in case of casualties involving injuries and/or loss of life to claim compensation under the provisions of the Indian Acts.

      When a ship is built or acquired out of India and becomes the property of a person qualified to own an Indian ship, the owner or the Master of the ship will have to apply to the Indian Consular Officer at the nearest port for the issue of a provisional certificate of Indian registry and such officer, on production of satisfactory proof of ownership, grant the same to the owner or the Master. Such a certificate has all the force of a certificate of registry. It is, however, valid for a period of 6 months from its date of issue or until the arrival of the ship at a port where there is a Registrar whichever first happens and on either of these events happening would cease to have effect. The provisional certificate so issued will have to be exchanged by the owner for a certificate of registry from the concerned Registrar.

      So the type of ship registry, granted to a ship owner for their ship is based on the functionality of that ship.


        • India follows closed registry. Remember closed registry they allow only vessels that are owned by companies or persons that are residents of that country.

          Besides, the following 27 countries have been declared Flag Of Convenience by the ITF’s Fair Practices Committee (a joint committee of ITF seafarers’ and dockers’ unions) which runs the ITF campaign against FOCs: Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba (Netherlands), Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda (UK), Burma, Cambodia, Canary Islands (Spain), Cayman Islands (UK), Cook Islands (New Zealand), Cyprus, German International Ship Register (GIS), Gibraltar (UK), Honduras, Lebanon, Liberia, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Islands (USA), Mauritius, Netherlands Antilles, Panama, St. Vincent, Sri Lanka, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.

          Meanwhile some of these nations with closed registries find that change is essential or else they will have only coastal ships to regulate their registries.


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