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FAQ - Application Process

1. Question: What vessels need to be registered?

All vessels operating in Jamaican Waters must be registered unless exempted. Non-Jamaican vessels operating commercially in Jamaican waters must be certified for Local Trade Operations.

 2. Question: How long does it take to register my vessel?

Provided all forms are fully completed and submitted along with relevant supporting documentation  and the vessel is successful in the mandatory safety inspection, registration is typically effected within One  (1) week of receipt of the Application by the MAJ. Delays are inevitable where the forms are not properly filled-in, supporting documentation is missing or during seasonal peaks in requests for registration. Applicants may request an expedited service which guarantees completion of the process of registratoin within Three (3) Days, providiing all requirements are satisfied.

3. Question: How often must I register my vessel?

 Registration is a one-time process which lasts the life of the vessel provided the Owner does not change or the vessel does not otherwise become ineligible to remain registered. Safety inpsection and re-certification is however, an anual requirement for commercial vessels and a biennial activitiy for certain classes of Pleasure Craft.

4. Question: What documents must be submitted in registering a vessel?

 The documents to be submitted when applying for any service provided by the Maritime Authority of Jamaica are listed at the back of the Application Form.

5. Question: What is required to expedite registration or inspection?

 To expedite the registration process, all fees must be paid in advance, forms received by the Maritime Authority must be complete with supporting documents and properly filled-in and the vessel be fully ready for a successful safety inspection. An expedited process reduces the inspection time to

6. Question: Do I have to pay back fees if I have not inspected my vessel for a long period?

Where a Pleasure Craft fails to meet the requirements for Biennial Inspeciton or a non-pleasure craft the requirements for annual inspections,  back fees will be payable when next the vessel is brought in for inspection as it will be assumed that the vessel was engaged albeit illegally, as the certificate would have expired.  Where however, the MAJ is advised in advance that the vessel will be taken out of service and the Safety Inspection Certificate returned to the Maritime Authority, back fees will not apply.  Further, where the vessel is returned to service within the period of validity of the Safety Certificate, consideration will be given to the fact that she was laid-up for a period.

It should be noted that where a vessel is taken our of normal service, the Certificate of Registry may be replaced by one endorsed “Not for Operation” in which case, the vessel will not be required to fulfill technical obligations.

7. Question: How long do I have to submit outstanding documents and fees?

Incomplete Applications submitted will be returned to the applicant in instances where the outstanding requirements are not fulfilled within Seven (7) days.

8. Question: Is there a grace period for the renewal of my Safety or Registration Certificates?

The Certificate of Registry for vessels 24 Metres and above, is renewable annually.  The Certificate may be renewed up to 30 days before expiry providing all the applicable fees are paid.

Small vessel Certificate of Registry is renewable every Six (6) years. Renewal of the Certificate allows for the MAJ to maintain current records on a vessel as at the time of renewal, it is expected that all changes to the registered information that were not previously captured, will be captured upon renewal of the Certificate.  If no change to the information is communicated, the Certificate will automatically be renewed.

A Safety Inspection Certificates may also be renewed up to 30 days before the actual date of expiry, once the vessel continues to meet the requirements for operation in Jamaica.  An Application for Small Vessel Safety Inspection may be downloaded form the website, completed and forwarded to the Maritime Authority of Jamaica along with the appropriate Fees.  The Safety Inspection Certificate will be endorsed for another year, once the vessel is found seaworthy.

9. Question: What Port of Registry may I use on my vessel?

 The Port of Registry for all Jamaican Ships is Montego Bay.  Vessels operating exclusively within Jamaican waters may use any of the ports so declared under the Port Authority Act.

10. Question: Is my operation restricted to my Port of Registry?

 No. The Port of Registry  used does not  restrict the vessel  from operating outside that port.

11. Question: Can I register a vessel I have leased?

 Leased, time or voyage chartered vessels do not fulfill the requirements necessary to be registered in Jamaica as chartered vessels. Only a Bareboat Chartered vessel may be registered in Jamaica as a chartered vessel.  It is advised to contact the MAJ for guidance in the registration of a Bareboat Chartered vessel.   

12. Question: My vessel is currently registered in another country with a mortgage against it. Can I now register it in Jamaica?

 It is possible to register a mortgaged vessel in Jamaica with the Mortgagee’s (lender’s) consent.  The following options are available in such an instance:

  • Bareboat(In) Charter Registration:

Where a vessel is the subject of a Bareboat Charter (that is, where the Charterer has full control of operation and crewing of the vessel as against a voyage or time charter), the Charterer my register the vessel in Jamaica with the permission of the Owner, underlying Flagstate and the Mortgagee. The Charterer must meet all the qualifying criteria to be registered as an owner of a Jamaican ship.

During the period of registration in Jamaica, the registration in the United States or that other country will be suspended, allowing for the vessel to fly the Jamaican Flag and show only the Jamaican markings.  The mortgage in this scenario, will remain registered in that country while the vessel is registered in Jamaica.  The vessel will be able to enjoy all the benefits and previliges of a Jamaican registered ship.

  • Cancel the Registration and Register in Jamaica

Where the mortgaged vessel is not Bareboat Chartered and the Owner desires to register the vessel in Jamaica, the Owner must first obtain the Mortgagee’s consent. The Owner, if able to meet the qualifying criteria for ownership of a Jamaican ship, may then submit an Application for Registration of the vessel in Jamaica. The Application must be accompanied by a Bill of Sale that is free and clear of all encumbrances.  To obtain this without compromising the security of the Mortgage, the Mortgagee may register a Priority Notice at the same time the vessel is being registered in Jamaica. Once the vessel is registered in Jamaica and the Deletion Certificate is issued by that other country, the vessel may be permanently registered and the mortgage registered in Jamaica with the same priority as was assigned to the Priority Notice.  The process is a simple one.  The Application for Registration is forwarded along with:

  1. A Notice of Priority from the Mortgagee
  2. An undertaking to provided a Deletion Certificate dated on or before the date of entry of the vessel in the Register of Ships, Jamaica
  3. A Bill of Sale that is free and clear of all encumbrances
  4. The vessel is provisionally registered in Jamaican for a period not exceeding Six (6) months.  (The mortgage may be deleted from the underlying Register and registered in Jamaica at this point).
  5. The vessel is deleted from the underlying Register and the Deletion Certificate issued dated on or before the date of registration in Jamaica
  6. The mortgage is registered in Jamaica.

13. Question: Where do I get forms and instructions for registration of my vessel?

 Forms and instructions for registration may be obtained from our website at: www.jamaicaships.com and selecting the option for Blank Forms.  Forms and procedures may otherwise be obtained by contacting the Maritime Authority of Jamaica.




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