All ships on the high seas are required by international law to have nationality. Ship registration provides nationality to a ship. A ship registered in PNG travelling overseas has the protection of the Papua New Guinea Government. The registration papers provide proof of identity or nationality.
Registration of ships is governed by the Merchant Shipping Act 1975 and its subsidiary legislations MS (Ship Registration Regulation) 2006).
The shipping register is administered by the Office of the General Manager, National Maritime Safety Authority and all official forms are obtainable from the Registrar of Ships with the National Maritime Safety Authority.
Eligibility for Registration
Automatic eligibility is granted to Papua New Guinea citizens and Companies incorporated under the Companies Act as a company and having their principal place of business in Papua New Guinea.
All ships with a length of 10meters or greater involved in any commercial activity owned by a Papua New Guinea or owned by a company registered with IPA must be registered with the PNG Ship Registry at NMSA.
Application for the Registration of a Papua New Guinea Ship is made to the Registrar of Ships. Papua New Guinea does not operate an open registry and therefore a Papua New Guinea Consul is not permitted to accept registration documents and cannot issue certificates. The Registrar may temporarily accept facsimile copies of documents supporting an application for registration but it is assumed that the originals will follow shortly thereafter in order for the vessel to be registered.
The Papua New Guinea Ship Registry makes a distinction between provisional and permanent registration.
Provisional Registration is granted to a ship to enable it to sail a newly built ship or a deleted ship from aboard into Papua New Guinea. The Provisional Registration Certificate is only for duration of three months, pending the issuance of a permanent certificate of registration.
The following documents are required by the Registrar of ships to support an application for Registration:
- If the applicant is a natural person ( birth certificate or passport);
- If the applicant is a company incorporated under the Companies Act to conduct business in PNG (IPA Certificate);
- Its cover letter on its company letter head, with its full address together with its landline telephone number;
- Application for Ship Registration;
- Builders Certificate;
- Declaration of Qualified Persons;
- Tonnage Certificate (Convention Ship);
- Tonnage Certificate (None Convention Ship);
- Carving and Marking Note;
- Bill of Sale;
- Declaration of Ownership;
- Appointment of Agent
- Certificate of Survey/Survey Report;
- Deletion Certificate
Ship Registration Forms
All these forms must be filled and submitted when applying to register a ship with using the guide provided with necessary documentation as required and indicated on the respective checklists.
Ship Registry R2: Registration Application Form
Ship Registry R3: Declaration of Ownership Form
Ship Registry R6: Bill Of Sale Form
Ship Registry R7: Declaration of Transfer Blank Form
Ship Registry R9: Ships Mortgage Form
Ship Registry R 13: Application to Change Name