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Ship Registry

Ship Registry

When can a new building be registered

The instance does arise where a new building will be required to be registered for the purpose of registering a mortgage bond prior to the building being completed.  In such instances the surveyor shall evaluate the state of completion of the vessel with reference to the approve plans and particulars but shall as a minimum confirm that;

  1. The hull and principal deck structures are 90% complete
  2. The vessel’s main and essential auxiliary machinery is in place
  3. All hull fittings are complete (Rudder, shaft, sea cocks etc.)

Temporary Pass

The Authority may direct the Registrar to issue a temporary pass in respect of an unregistered ship that is entitled to be registered if the Authority is satisfied by reason of special circumstances permission should be granted for the ship to travel –
From a South African port to a foreign port; or
From a foreign port to another foreign port or to a South African port.
The Temporary Pass when issued will display

South African National and Resident

South African National is defined as-

  • A South African Citizen
  • A South African body corporate established in terms of a law of the Republic with a place of business in the Republic
  • A South African Trust in which
    • The majority of trustees having the controlling power at any given time are South Africa  nationals, and
    • A majority of the beneficial interests are held by such South African nationals
  • The Government of the Republic.

South African Resident is defined as

Ships that can be registered

  • South African owned ships, which includes small vessels used for Fishing
    • Small vessels other than fishing vessels
    • Ships on bareboat charter to South African Nationals being:
    • Ships other than fishing vessels
    • Ships of over 500 gross tonnage
    • Ships propelled by mechanical means and
    • Where the charter agreement is for a period of longer than two years.

Ships that cannot be registered

Obligation to report a casualty

Marine Notice No. 25 of 2007 – Obligation to report, casualties, accidents
            & serious injuries.

Marine Notice No. 8 of 2011 – “Marine incident Report” for use by small
           vessels involved in an incident.

CASUALTY/ACCIDENT REPORT  - for vessel’s for commercial vessels over 25
          gross tons

Renewal of Register

The period of registration of a ship, excluding vessels on Bareboat charter, unless terminated earlier is valid for a period of 5 years .

This 5 year period is calculated from the date the vessel was last registered and the expiry date is indicated on the certificate of South African Registry and will expire at the end of that period unless it is renewed.

Where the register is not renewed within the period specified, the registrar will upon expiry of that period make an entry in the register to that effect, and the registration of the ship will be deemed to be closed.


In terms of the South African Ship Registration Act it is not a requirement for vessels that are entitled to be registered and who are operating only in South African waters  to be registered, however where a vessel is not registered it must be licenced.  There are exceptions where vessels must be registered and these are


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Maritime Emergency Number: 021-938-3300