Solomon Harris have a dedicated shipping department who are able to deal with all manner of shipping matters such as registrations, de-registrations, mortgages and charges of status for both local and international clients.

Although Cayman has been a popular base for the registration of foreign owned vessels for many years, recent conventions adopted by the Islands mean that a Cayman registered vessel owned by a Cayman company enjoys all the privileges afforded to the British Flag and full international recognition while benefiting from the tax free status and shipping laws of the Cayman Islands.

The following are among the more significant developments:

  • Adoption of part 2 of the UK Merchant Shipping Act enables ships registered in the Cayman Islands to fly the Red Ensign, with only majority ownership being "British" owned.
  • Cayman Islands has secured full convention status, with power to issue full convention certificates e.g. solas, loadline, Marpol, etc.
  • Creation of a Survey department, which, with support from the UK Department of Transport, ensures compliance with international convention certificates.
  • Temporary easing of manning requirements until June 1990, regarding nationality of officers, until local requirements can be complied with.
  • Transitional arrangements in existence regarding survey, whereby existing class certificates are acceptable in the interim.


For a Ship to be registered in the Cayman Islands the following conditions must be complied with:

  • The owner must be British or be an individual or company in specified British dependencies e.g. Cayman, Gibraltar,
  • Isle of Man, Bermuda, etc. Ownership requires only 33/64 or more to be "British". It should be noted that a Cayman company regardless of nationality of its beneficial owners would qualify as a "British" owner.
  • The owners are required to appoint a local representative/agent as a point of contact with the Registrar of Ships. (Solomon Harris will arrange for the appointment of a local agent if required).
  • The ship is subject to survey by the Marine survey department to ensure compliance with international standards.
  • The ship requires a Safe Manning Certificate and the three senior officers (Master, Chief Officer and Chief Engineer) require either British certificates or appropriate certificates considered the equivalent - certificates from certain Commonwealth countries or from NATO or EEC countries.
  • Other crew members must be qualified in accordance with the STCW convention.

Cayman Benefits

The benefits of registering in the Cayman Islands are as follows:

  • Manning restrictions are less onerous than for other British dependencies, while still providing the benefits of flying under the Red Ensign Flag.
  • Red ensign flag entitles ships to the protection of the Royal Navy.
  • Full assistance of the British consular service worldwide, which is especially useful in connection with crew matters.
  • Registration and annual tonnage fees are very competitive.
  • High quality local expertise in the fields of banking, company management, legal and accounting services.
  • Excellent international communications by fax, telephone and telex.
  • Absence of exchange controls.
  • No income, corporate or capital gains taxes exist in the Cayman Islands.
  • Colony status.


Documents which require to be submitted for registration are as follows:-

  • Appointment of authorized officers.
  • Form GSR 342 - approval of the ships name.
  • Application to register, either by the owner or his agent, who is authorized in writing, and under the company seal in the case of company ownership.
  • Title documents.
  • Certificate of survey - to be organized through the Marine Survey department, using classification societies, if necessary, in the short term. Survey fees are US$80 per hour plus surveyors travelling expenses.
  • Declaration of ownership.

On registration the Registrar allocates an official number to the vessel and issues a carving and Marking Note to the surveyor. Where required the Registrar will also assign the international call sign.

Our specialist in this area is:



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