What ownership requirements apply to register a vessel in Antigua and Barbuda ?

The qualifications for ownership of an Antigua and Barbuda ship are common to all vessel types.   The full details are in the Merchant Shipping Act  but in summary a vessel may be registered in Antigua and Barbuda  if the owner is either:

  • A Citizen of Antigua and Barbuda or of a Member State of the Caribbean Community or the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.
  • A legal corporate body in Antigua and Barbuda, or
  • A corporation registered under the International Business Corporation Act,
  • A corporate body or a partnership concern registered elsewhere which is registered under the Companies Act.

A public body is authorised if it is established under and subject to the laws of Antigua and Barbuda and has its principle place of business in Antigua and Barbuda, or it appoints a resident agent in Antigua and Barbuda and has at least 51% of its share capital held by citizens of Antigua and Barbuda while the majority of Directors are citizens.

Creating an IBC (International Business Company) under the International Business Corporation Act  or registering an external company are the two easiest and simplest ways for international shipping companies to meet the ownership requirements.  There are a number of companies locally in Antigua who can assist in arranging this and in setting up bareboat charter companies in Antigua for vessels registered as chartered bareboats.


Are there any age restrictions for ships?

There are no age restrictions for ships. However, ships over 12 months old must be subject to an Initial Safety Inspection by one of the appointed flag state inspectors before being accepted for registration. The inspection fee is paid for by the ship owner.


Which recognised organisations are accepted?

All of the following International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) members  are authorised and recognised by Antigua and Barbuda as Recognised Organisations for survey and certification, for ISM, as RSOs for ISPS work and as Recognised Organisations for the MLC:

ABS http://www.eagle .org
BV http://www.veristar.com
CCS http://www.ccs.org.cn
DNV GL https://www.dnvgl.com
KR http://www.krs.co.kr
LR http://www.lr.org
NK http://www.classnk.or.jp
RINA http://www.rina.org
RS http://www.rs-head.spb.ru


All Antigua and Barbuda ships over 500 GT must be “in class” and maintained in class with one of the recognised Classification Societies.


Can I register a Mortgage(s) against my ship?

Yes, a mortgage may be registered against any permanently registered vessel.  However a mortgage may not be registered against a bareboat registered vessel which flies the Antigua and Barbuda flag(demise (in)  registered).  Such a mortgage can only be registered against the vessel in the underlying registry.  In the case of a vessel that is registered in Antigua and Barbuda and subsequently demised “out” to another flag, mortgages can be registered.


Can I Bareboat Charter my ship in or out of the Antigua and Barbuda flag registry?

 Yes,  full arrangements exist to bareboat charter ships both “IN” to Antigua and Barbuda, or “OUT” from Antigua and Barbuda to other flags.  In every case the parallel register arrangement must be with the consent of the parallel register.


Who issues radio licenses?

These are issued by ADOMS from either the St. John’s office or the Oldenburg office, whichever is the most convenient.


Are there any approved doctors in Antigua and Barbuda who can conduct the UK ENG 1 Seafarer Medical Exam? 

A. Yes. All crew working on UK ships and mega yachts can have there exam done in Antigua and Barbuda. Doctors certified by MCA will be listed separately on our website shortly. For details please contact us at techcnical@abregistry.ag