Registration of Commercial Vessels

Can we register a ship under a foreign company not incorporated in Singapore?
No. Only Singapore Citizens/Permanent Residents or bodies corporate incorporated in Singapore may register themselves as owners of Singapore ships.

Can we register a ship under a company incorporated in Singapore but with 100% foreign shareholders? If so, can we register a tug if the company has 100% foreign shareholders?
Yes, a company incorporated in Singapore with 100% foreign shareholders may register a Singapore ship. The ship must be self-propelled and 1,600 GT and above in size. However, owners may apply for an exemption from this regulation if the ship is operated from or based in Singapore.

Fees for Registration of Ships

Are we entitled to any discount?
Owners may write in to request for consideration under the Block Transfer Scheme (BTS) when registering:

  • 1 ship aggregating at least 40,000 NT
  • 2 ships aggregating at least 40,000 NT
  • 3 ships aggregating at least 30,000 NT
  • 4 ships aggregating at least 20,000 NT
  • 5 ships of any aggregating tonnage

Owners must write in to request for consideration under the Block Transfer Scheme. Owners should clearly state the total number of vessels, each vessel’s Net Tonnage (NT) and the approximate date for each vessel’s registration.

Surveys and Classification Societies

Must the vessel be surveyed by an MPA surveyor prior to its entry into the Singapore Registry?
No. The surveyor of any of the nine classification societies authorised by MPA may survey the vessel.


How long does it take to register or discharge a mortgage?
It takes 2-3 working days for a mortgage to be registered or discharged. Where a service to register or discharge a mortgage is required after office hours, prior arrangement must be made with the staff of the Registry of Ships.

Tax Issues

What are the tax incentives for a Singapore-flagged vessel?
Profits of a shipping enterprise derived from the operation of a Singapore ship are exempt from Singapore income tax. The exemption applies to income derived from the carriage in international waters of passengers, mails, livestock or goods, or from towing or salvage operations carried out in international waters by Singapore ship, and includes income derived from the charter of Singapore ships.

How can/does the company obtain exemption from payment of the Withholding Tax?
Under the new Maritime Sector Incentive (MSI) scheme, automatic withholding tax (WTH) exemption will, subject to conditions, be extended to qualifying payments made in respect of qualifying loans taken from foreign lenders to finance the purchase or construction of Singapore-flagged ships. As such, entities which obtain qualifying loans from foreign lenders are no longer required to apply for such exemption on a case-by-case basis during the period from 1 June 2011 to 31 May 2016. To enjoy automatic WTH exemption, entities are required to submit a self-declaration Form for each loan obtained to inform the relevant authorities that the qualifying conditions have been met. Please refer to Shipping Circular No. 16 of 2011 for the details.