Transport Malta, the authority responsible for the Malta Ship Register, reports a strong and positive performance for 2014.
According to the latest official statistics, Malta has now become the 6th largest Ship Register worldwide whilst further consolidating its position as the largest Register in Europe. In 2013, Malta ranked in the seventh place. In fact, as at end of the year, the Maltese Register of Shipping registered an increase of almost 6.5 million gross tonnage representing a growth rate of 12.5% over the previous year, which had also reported record figures.
As at end of December 2014, the registered gross tonnage under the Merchant Shipping Act was 57.9 million gross tons with over 2,500 merchant vessels fly the Maltese Flag. By end of 2014, the authority had processed over 191,376 applications from officers serving or wanting to serve on Maltese ships, for the issue of endorsements attesting to the recognition of their certificate of competency issued by a foreign administration. Of these, 16,639 were processed in the year under review.These statistics represent record figures for the Malta Flag and a significant achievement for the Malta Flag Administration.
Malta has also continued to consolidate its position on the Paris MoU and Tokyo MoU White Lists. During 2014, the Malta flag registered very positive results in terms of port State control performance, thus reinforcing the quality of its registered fleet and its firm commitment towards safe, secure and clean shipping. This is also a result of drive by the Maltese shipping community to attract more young and innovative tonnage to the fleet. The average age of merchant ships registered under the Merchant Shipping Act was of 7 years, thus decreasing the average age of all the registered merchant fleet to 12 years.
Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Joe Mizzi, commented "this status was achieved thanks to the efforts of all stakeholders including shipowners, seafarers, the efforts of the personnel of Transport Malta, particularly those at the Merchant Shipping Directorate and a joint effort by the Authority and the Maltese Shipping community to attract serious companies to the Maltese Register. The fact that the Malta Flag Administration has managed to concurrently increase both its growth rate and enhance the technical performance of its registered fleet further confirms the Authority's adopted strategy to focus on quality. Year on year record growth figures further consolidate the Island's register as the flag of choice of the major International ship-owning companies and re-affirms Malta's reputation as a leading maritime nation. I take this opportunity to thank all stakeholders for their contribution and confidence shown in the Malta flag."
Today, the Malta Register has also become a world leader in commercial yachts registration where Malta has also registered positive results. Despite the current financial situation worlwide, the Malta flag registered an increase of 13.6% over the previous year, in the registration of superyachts of over 24 metres in length. As of the end of December 2014, the superyacht fleet flying the conspicuous Maltese cross worldwide was 452.
Mr Piscopo concluded: "these positive results encourage us to work harder to ensure that Maritime Malta continues to benefit from the associated positioning within these international sectors, both from the substantial direct foreign revenue and value added in the economy. These results also represent yet another milestone towards further consolidating Malta as an international centre of maritime excellence in the Mediterranean."