The Merchant Shipping Act defines a bareboat charter as a contract for the lease or sub-lease of a ship, for a stipulated period of time, by virtue of which the charterer shall acquire full control and complete possession of the ship, including, the right to appoint her master and crew for the duration of the charter but excluding the right to sell or mortgage the ship.
The eligibility criteria to register a ship in Malta under a bareboat charter registration are the following;
(a) The ship is bareboat chartered to persons qualified to own a Maltese ship;
(b) The ship Is not a Maltese ship, and is registered in a compatible registry;
(c) The ship is not registered in another bareboat charter registry; and
(d) A copy of the charter agreement, which charter agreement shall not be available for public inspection, is submitted to the Registrar of Maltese Ships along with the application for registration and a transcript of the underlying registry.
The charterers must also obtain the consent in writing for the ship to be bareboat charter registered in Malta of the underlying registry, the owners of the ship and all registered mortgagees. The duration of the bareboat charter registration shall be for a period not exceeding the duration of the bareboat charter or the expiry date of the underlying registration, whichever is the shorter period, but in no case for a period exceeding two years. This period may be extended at the request of the charterer. A ship registered under a bareboat charter registration is deemed to be a Maltese ship and shall be under the jurisdiction and control of Malta and shall comply with all the laws applicable to Maltese ships.