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.