Bareboat registrations in and out of the Norwegian Ship Registers

  • Published: 24/06/2020

From 1 July 2020, ships in the Norwegian Ship Registers, the Norwegian International Ship Register (NIS) and Norwegian Ordinary Ship Register (NOR) will be allowed bareboat registration out to foreign ship registers. At the same time, foreign-registered ships will be allowed bareboat registration into NIS and NOR.

Tanker
PHOTO: Frank Kleppe/Odfjell

What is bareboat registration?

Bareboat registration means that a ship registered in one state (the primary state), based on a bareboat charter party (lease agreement), is temporarily registered in another state (the bareboat state) simultaneously. The ship is granted the nationality of the latter state and is given the right to sail under the flag of that state for a limited period. At the same time, the ship loses the right to sail under the flag of the primary state.  

When a ship is bareboat registered, the ship registration's public and private law functions are divided between the two states. This means, among other things, that the flag state jurisdiction is transferred to the bareboat state, while ownership and legal rights remain registered in the primary state throughout the bareboat registration period.

Which ships may be bareboat registred?

Passenger- and cargo ships with a length over all of 15 meters or more, drilling platforms and other mobile offshore units may be bareboat registered in NIS and NOR

Why bareboat register?

Bareboat registration gives shipowners the flexibility needed, and which is provided by foreign, competing ship registries. Before Norwegian legislation allowed for bareboat registration, Norwegian shipowners were forced to delete their ships from the Norwegian Ship Registers when bareboat registration was required. 

Some states require a national flag to allow ships to sail in domestic traffic or to operate on the state's continental shelf (cabotage). Bareboat charterers may also wish for the ship to sail under a specific flag during the charter party period. 

What are the advantages of bareboat registration?

The possibility of bareboat registration out of the Norwegian Ship Registers gives the industry access to new markets and at the same time prevents permanent deletions from Norway. 

The likelihood of ships being taken back under the Norwegian flag when the contract has been concluded and it is no longer necessary or desirable to sail under the bareboat state’s flag is increasing. 

Bareboat registration may increase the number of ships under the Norwegian flag and at the same time increase the Norwegian Ship Register’s international competitiveness and overall attractiveness. 

All major registries offer bareboat registration. 

What requirements do the Norwegian Ship Registers make?

The terms are designed to be flexible and competitive compared to other registries. There are no restrictions on the countries to which a ship can be bareboat registered to. Both the shipowner and mortgagee(s) must give their consent before permission is granted. As a result of shipping companies registering their ships in foreign ship registries for many years, owners and financial institutions have long experience with quality assurance of bareboat states.  

Both the shipowner and any mortgagees have financial interests in the ship, and it is, therefore, in their interest to carry out a good quality risk assessment of the bareboat state. 
 
It is assumed that holders of rights in a ship generally will be restrictive in allowing bareboat registration to states that do not take safety, environmental and crew regulations seriously as these are matters that may contribute to deteriorating the ship's value. 

What duration can the bareboat charter party have?

The lease period varies from agreement to agreement. For maximum flexibility, it has been decided that the bareboat agreement can be entered into for 10 years, with the possibility of 5-year extensions at a time.

What costs will be involved with bareboat registrations in the Norwegian Ship Registers?

Since the workload for these registrations will be the same as for ordinary registrations and deletions, the fees will be the same. See or fee calculator here.

How do we proceed to bareboat register ships in- or out of the Norwegian Ship Registers?

The documentation requirements have been summarized on the various registration pages on our website here.

Who do we contact regarding bareboat registrations?

Kindly contact the Department of Ship Registration on phone (+47) 55 54 12 50 or by email: post@nis-nor.no.

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