Ship Registration: Law and Practice

Page 128


Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands

11.1 The Cayman Islands consists of a group of three islands, Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, situated about 150 miles south of Cuba, the largest island being Grand Cayman. The population is approximately 58,500. Formerly linked politically to Jamaica, the Cayman Islands opted to remain a British Overseas Territory when Jamaica gained its independence in 1962. As with all British Overseas Territories, Parliament at Westminster retains the right to legislate. The Governor, who is appointed by the Crown, has reserved powers on matters such as defence and external affairs. There is a Legislative Assembly whose 19 members are elected every four years and a Cabinet comprising the Governor, the Premier, the Deputy Premier, five ministers elected by, and from, the Legislative Assembly and two ex-officio members, the Deputy Governor and the Attorney-General. The country is a major offshore financial centre, as well as a popular destination for tourists. The legal tender is the Cayman Islands dollar (CI$1 = US$1.219). 11.2 The Cayman Islands Shipping Registry (‘CISR’) is a division of the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands (‘MACI’), a governmental authority. The Cayman Islands registry is part of the Red Ensign Group and is classified under the UK Merchant Shipping Act 1995 as a Category 1 registry (unlimited tonnage and type). The Cayman Islands appears as one of the largest 35 flag States for merchant vessels as at 1 January 2017 and is first ranked in the Paris MOU White List of port State control inspections for the reporting period 2014–2016, published in July 2017.1

Sources of law

11.3 Cayman Islands law is based on English law. Some Westminster statutes apply in the Cayman Islands, while local legislation often adopts English legal principles. The registration of ships under the Cayman Islands flag is now governed by the Merchant Shipping Law (2016 Revision) (‘the Law’) which has consolidated and replaced a large number of earlier Cayman statutes dealing with ship registration and other merchant shipping matters. The Law applies much of the UK provisions of law relating to registration and safety. Unless otherwise stated, references in this chapter to sections are references to sections of the Law.

Page 129

Vessel eligibility

Vessel type

11.4 Any type of vessel may be registered as a Cayman Islands ship, provided it meets the required internationally recognised safety standards and is owned by persons qualified to be the owners of Cayman Islands ships. The Cayman Islands flag has been particularly successful in attracting a significant number of luxury yachts.2 Yachts will be considered separately in paragraphs 11.30 onwards. Part VIII of the Law provides for the registration of submersible craft, the details of which are recorded in a separate part of the Register in accordance with section 11(2) of the Law.

Age limits

11.5 Whilst there are no mandatory age limits for Cayman Islands ships, age is a factor that is taken into account when assessing the acceptability of a ship for registration under section 7.


11.6 Section 4(1) provides that the following categories of persons are qualified to be the owners of Cayman Islands ships:
  • (1) British citizens;
  • (2) British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies citizens;
  • (3) British Overseas citizens;
  • (4) British subjects;
  • (5) persons who under the Hong Kong (British Nationality) Order 1986 are British Nationals (Overseas);
  • (6) Cayman Islands citizens;
  • (7) persons, other than those referred to in paragraphs (1)–(6), who are nationals or citizens of a Member State of the European Union, European Economic Area or an approved country, including the overseas countries, territories or dependencies of such Member State or country;
  • (8) bodies corporate, shipping entities or foreign companies incorporated, established or registered in and having a place of business in:
    • (a) the UK or any of its Overseas Territories or Crown Dependencies;
    • (b) a Member State of the European Union or European Economic Area, including any overseas country, territory or dependency of such Member State; or
    • (c) an approved country3 or any overseas country, territory or dependency of such approved country; and

  • Page 130

    (9) foreign companies as defined in section 183 of the Companies Law (2016 Revision) carrying on business within the Islands which comply with all the requirements of foreign companies under that Law.

Furthermore, section 4(2) provides that a person who is not qualified under subsection (1) to be an owner of a Cayman Islands ship may nevertheless be one of the owners of such a ship if:

The rest of this document is only available to i-law.com online subscribers.

If you are already a subscriber, click Log In button.

Copyright © 2024 Maritime Insights & Intelligence Limited. Maritime Insights & Intelligence Limited is registered in England and Wales with company number 13831625 and address 5th Floor, 10 St Bride Street, London, EC4A 4AD, United Kingdom. Lloyd's List Intelligence is a trading name of Maritime Insights & Intelligence Limited.

Lloyd's is the registered trademark of the Society Incorporated by the Lloyd's Act 1871 by the name of Lloyd's.