Merchant Shipping Act 2001

An Act to consolidate the laws relating to merchant shipping and to make provision for other matters connected therewith.


  • A Certificate of Survey confirming the change, with the fee for a new Certificate of Registry (Blue Book)

  • An original Certificate of Survey issued by one of the approved classification societies or organizations
  • Payment of the fee for new Certificate of Registry (Blue Book)

If the owner intends to change the operation (use) of vessel, e.g. from "pleasure" to "commercial", a Certificate of Compliance issued under the rules of the respective Code of Practice, or other regulation must be submitted, with the fee for the new Certificate of Registry

  • As members of the General British Registry of Ships, BVI registered vessels are subject to the same safety, security and environmental protection standards and regulations as UK vessels.
  • Commercial vessels are to comply with MCA Codes of Practice for Commercial Vessels of their type, class and size.
  • Vessels operating in the Caribean are to comply with respective Caribbean Codes or Regulations.
  • Certificates issued by the UK are recognized.



  • Application to change the name, giving 3 names in order of priority      
  • Letter from the Mortgagee confirming ‘no objection’ to change of name.
  • Fee to change the name and issue new Certificate of Registry.


After a vessel is registered, any changes that would affect the ‘Certificate of British Registry’ must be notified to the VISR. If registered owners have changed address, they must notify the Registry of the change by written correspondence. As the production of the Certificates is fully computerized any change in the primary details includes the issue of a new certificate. That way no manual alteration appear on the face of the certificate. Therefore in such cases, the current certificate of registry must be returned for cancellation.


  • Appointment of Authorized Officer
  • Appointment of Representative Person
  • Declaration of Eligibility
  • Original Bill(s) of Sale
  • Certificate of Incorporation (if company)
  • Certificate of Good Standing (if the company more than one year old)
  • Statutory fee (see list obtainable from Registry)


According to tradition, interest/ownership in a British Ship is divided into 64 Shares. A vessel is entitled to be registered, if a majority of the interest (at least 33 of the 64 shares) is owned by qualified persons (individuals or Bodies Corporate). Foreign persons may own a minority interest (up to 31 of the 64 shares) in the ship; or register ship under a qualified company owned by them.

The recording of mortgages is an important feature of ship registration. The Registry facilitates the Entry, Transfer and Discharge of marine Mortgages on registered vessels. Lenders (Mortgagees) may also submit a Notice of Mortgage Intent Form and documents, to preserve their priority whilst registration is proceeding. This form may also be used in respect of vessels under construction.