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The Elizabeth Swann will be classed as a private yacht, not for commercial charter. We need to keep the administrative and operational costs down to the minimum, commensurate with maintaining the vessel in first class condition for occasional operation in international waters. She will be classed as a solar powered battery electric vessel in the first instance, where such classes are now widely accepted. Hydrogen for energy storage may be added at the appropriate time, as approval of such innovation becomes easier as the technology is better recognized and classified. Though, Approval In Principle, might be a logical stepping stone, in terms of advancement.



Most flag registries, while either an agency of a government or acting on behalf of the government, are to some extent, in competition with each other for business and offer various angles that may benefit the needs of some owners. The cost of flagging offshore is relatively low, provided your yacht meets class requirements.




Ships must be registered in the ship register of the jurisdiction whose flag it is flying. Flag registers in many countries are open to ships with foreign owners. Normally, each flag state has only one ship register, but several countries have more than one register:

- Denmark, France and Norway maintain an international register to compete with flags of convenience.


- The Kingdom of the Netherlands allows the different constituent countries to set up their own registers under the Dutch flag.


- Several territories over which the British Crown holds sovereignty have their own register. Most notably, the Isle of Man has a significant register.


- Hong Kong, the special administrative region of China, has a separate ship register, the fourth largest in the world, in addition to China's own ship registry.




Each flag state has set up its own flag state control system:

- In Australia, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) provides flag state control.


- In Canada, Transport Canada is responsible for flag state control under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.


- In France, the Ships Safety Centers are in charge of Flag state control.


- In Hong Kong, the Marine Department is responsible for control & enforcement under the Flag State Quality Control Scheme.


- In India, the Directorate General of Shipping is responsible for life, health, vessel and the environment for Indian registered ships and ships at Indian ports.


- In the United Kingdom, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is responsible for flag state control.


- In the United States, the Coast Guard, under the authority of various federal laws, regulations and international conventions and treaties, the Officer in Charge Marine Inspections is responsible for the inspection of US flag vessels.


- In Vanuatu, the Vanuatu Maritime Authority has the responsibility to enforce maritime laws and exercise flag state control.




In accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law Of the Sea (UNCLOS) Flag States must ensure that ships under their flag comply with international regulations, often adopted by the UN's International Maritime Organization (IMO), on matters of safety, navigation, crewing etc. Part XII entail special provisions on protecting the marine environment, which includes placing special obligations on flag States to ensure compliance with international environmental legislation such as MARPOL. Failure to do so, can result in the flag state losing its jurisdiction over ships under its flag, for example, when these might commit violations on the high seas.





An owner who intends to operate his vessel as a private yacht and not charter might register the vessel in his home country. You need to register your boat to use it at sea. Whether you can use the register depends on your citizenship status. So, check the eligibility requirements for each part of the UK Ship Register.

There are 4 different parts of the register. Which part you use depends on what you’re using your boat for:

Part 1 - commercial or pleasure boats
Part 2 - fishing boats

Part 3 - small boats

Part 4 - charter boats
Part 1 registration - commercial or pleasure boats


You can use Part 1 of the register if you have either:

- a commercial boat, unless you plan to use it for fishing
- a ‘pleasure vessel’ - this means you do not make any money from it


Registering your boat on Part 1 of the register means you’ll be able to:

- get a marine mortgage against your boat
- spend more than 6 months outside the UK


The costs is £153 to register for 5 years, with a renewal notice when it’s time to renew, and £72 for another 5 years registration.



- the dimensions of your boat
- the previous registration details of the boat (if it’s been registered before)
- the bill of sale, or invoices for build
- the radio signal detail - including your UK radio call sign, Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number

- the International Maritime Organization (IMO) number
- the builders certificate
- a certificate of survey for tonnage and measurement
- an international tonnage certificate (ITC69)
- safety certificates


Maritime & Coastguard Agency (Head office)
Spring Place
105 Commercial Road
Southampton, SO15 1EG, United Kingdom
Email: infoline@mcga.gov.uk
Tel: 0203 817 2000





Until World War II nations were able to maintain their dominance, or in some cases, even improve their position in maritime trade by offering vessels exclusive protection for flying their flags, which would in turn give the nation exclusive control over the vessels. Ship owners during this time needed protection from pirates and privateers which was provided by naval vessels of the flag state. In some cases states offered subsidies to the shipbuilding industries. In addition to these incentives, states might impose restrictions based on flag State, closing ports to other ships.


One well known example of how this was applied is the case of England, which restricted the import of Asian goods only to American and British vessels. England only opened its ports after it had maneuvered itself into a position of strength, and then most likely only to gain access to other continental ports. Similarly, France imposed a trade monopoly on its colonies which remained in place until 1869.


Since the Flag Right Declaration of 1921, it has been recognised that all states - including land-locked countries - have a right to maintain a ship register and be a ship's flag state. Because of the failure of some flag states to comply with their survey and certification responsibilities, especially flag-of-convenience states that have delegated their task to classification societies, a number of states have since 1982 established Port state controls of foreign-registered ships entering their jurisdiction.

As at January 2010, Panama was the world's largest flag state, with almost a quarter of the world's ocean-going tonnage registered there. The United States and the United Kingdom had only about 1% each.





The flag you choose to fly from your transom can have a direct bearing on your privacy, taxes, exposure to liability and boarding, the vessel’s success as a non-commercial enterprise, and, ultimately, your enjoyment of the yacht. How then do you decide which flag best serves your purposes? There is no simple answer, but some basic considerations do apply and are looked at in this review of the state of the flag nations. We are seeking a good working relationship with a forward looking administration.


Although a custom rather than a legal requirement, most countries expect a courtesy flag (a small version of the coastal state’s maritime ensign) to be flown by foreign flagged vessels at the senior signaling position, acknowledging that you will respect the Coastal State’s jurisdiction laws and sovereignty.

The courtesy flag should be hoisted on entering another country’s territorial waters. On a single masted yacht the correct position is as the upper most flag at the starboard crosstrees. If a motor cruiser does not have a dedicated signal halyard, a suitable prominent position should be used as a substitute. You may cause offence in some countries if your courtesy flag is tatty, too small or not there at all.




Many popular flag states have appealing and relatively simple avenues for setting up offshore corporate structures that offer favourable taxation and liability protections under a stable fiscal and legal system. In addition they have construction, inspection and regulatory compliance regimes that can streamline the process of owning and operating a large yacht. Just like you car, your boat will need an MOT once a year, and insurance cover.


A good starting point might be to choose a flag on the (so-called) ‘White List’ as maintained by the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (Paris MoU).

The Paris MoU consists of 27 participating maritime administrations and covers the waters of the European coastal states and the North Atlantic basin from North America to Europe. Its mission is to eliminate the operation of sub-standard ships through a harmonised system of port state control. There are other MoU groups around the world, with similar aims.

Port officers inspect foreign ships in the Paris MoU ports, to ensure they meet international safety, security and environmental standards, and that crew have adequate living and working conditions.

Flags on the Paris White List have demonstrated strong performance in those areas and thus, are typically subject to fewer boardings when they enter foreign ports.


There are rogue states that remain outside the family of civilised nations, and yachts that fly those flags are not so welcome,’ according to maritime attorney Michael T. Moore. In general, most civilised countries have subscribed to a web of treaties designed to protect the world’s oceans from pollution, over-fishing and various other unacceptable practices. Almost all seafaring nations are on the alert for out-of-pattern flags, as an indicator, but not a sure thing, that the operator may be flouting good practices. Flagging is thus discriminatory to some extent.


The brokerage and management firm Edmiston Company estimated that as many as 80 per cent of large yachts are flagged in the British overseas territories commonly known as the ‘Red Ensign Group’. These include the Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, including Guernsey, Jersey, and the BVI, being UK, Crown Dependencies. 

Factors influencing that include prestige, tradition and history; international recognition of high standards and adherence to the Large Yacht Commercial Code; ready availability of a large number of qualified surveyors; protection of British maritime law, consular services and navy; and commercial confidentiality (the owning companies can be registered in the flag state, rather than the person who owns the yacht).

The Red Ensign registry with the largest number of yachts is the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry. This is according to Peter Southgate, Advisor, Maritime Policy and Legislation Development and Shipping Master of the Cayman Registry. Service is one key to the flag’s popularity.


The US flag has long been problematic for ship and yacht owners due in large part to onerous regulations and manning requirements. ‘The US flag has a very unwelcoming regime of laws and regulations that make it extremely difficult for a ship of any size to be registered,’ according to Moore.

US Coast Guard legislation fails to differentiate between merchant vessels and commercial yachts, meaning most large yachts would fail to meet their “Seagoing Motor Vessel” requirements, which, in essence, apply SOLAS requirements to all vessels in excess of 300GT.





Elizabeth Swann



ZEWT ALORS - The solar and wind powered 'Elizabeth Swann' will feature solar collectors energy harvesting apparatus. Her hull configuration is ideal to incorporate mass hydrogen storage tanks, offering ranges of up to 4,000nm on compressed gas, or an extended range on liquid hydrogen tanks (optionally) as a drop in cartridge, or safety module.






























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