• Global Maritime Jurisdictions: Unveiling Excellence - Cayman Islands Edition

Global Maritime Jurisdictions: Unveiling Excellence - Cayman Islands Edition

The Cayman Islands are an autonomous British Overseas Territory in the western Caribbean Sea. The 264-square-kilometre (102-square-mile) territory comprises the three islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, which are located to the south of Cuba and northeast of Honduras, between Jamaica and the Yucatán Peninsula.

Renowned globally as a premier offshore jurisdiction with a neutral fiscal regime, the Cayman Islands are recognised for their well-regulated financial and business services sector. Originally a convenient stop for historic mariners seeking fresh water, these islands also boast a rich maritime heritage, coupled with a stable political, legal, and social environment.

Since establishing a parliamentary democracy in 1831, the Cayman Islands have continued to evolve, crafting modern maritime legislation rooted in English Common Law. This legal framework prioritizes safety while giving owners substantial flexibility. Moreover, the jurisdiction offers mortgage protection provisions, safeguarding the interests of mortgagees and financiers alike.

The Cayman Islands Shipping Registry

The Cayman Islands are recognised as the premier offshore jurisdiction to register superyachts, holding 15% of yachts over 30m (100ft) in the world. In the range of yachts over 40m (130ft), around 20% of the world’s fleet is registered in the Cayman Islands.

The Cayman Islands Shipping Registry (CISR) is listed as a Category 1 British Registry within the Red Ensign Group and is authorised to certify all sizes and types of vessels. The Registry is not just restricted to Cayman citizens or Cayman registered companies. A ship registered in the Cayman Islands is classified as a British Ship, is entitled to fly the red ensign flag and is afforded protection through the Royal Navy and its allies, together with access to worldwide diplomatic and consular network.

A division of the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands (Cayman Maritime), the CISR provides a dynamic environment that supports its clients’ efforts to maximise their respective stakeholders’ interests in global shipping, whilst promoting compliance with international maritime Conventions in the areas of maritime safety and security, environmental protection and the welfare of seafarers.

The Registry is white-listed and has qualified for ‘Low Risk’ status within the Paris and Tokyo Port State Control Memoranda of Understanding (PSC MOUs) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Qualship 21 Programme, meaning considerably less Port State Control inspections for Cayman-registered vessels. It is also rated as one of the top flags in the world by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).

The CISR provides a customer-focused, responsive, high-quality service and has global reach, maintaining a head office in the Cayman Islands, regional offices in Southampton, United Kingdom and Singapore, and having representatives in London, Ft. Lauderdale, Australia, France, Greece, Holland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Panama and the Philippines.

Key Features and Benefits of Vessel Registration in the Cayman Islands

  • Neutral port of registry: Vessels prominently display a neutral port of registry, renowned for its quality and recognition among global port and customs authorities.
  • ‘Ship Under Construction’ registration: vessel owners benefit from the 'Ship Under Construction' registration, allowing yachts to be registered during the construction phase.
  • Citizenship diversity in registration: Registration is accessible to a diverse range of global citizens, eliminating the need for company formation for many prospective clients.
  • Competitive fee structure: The registry offers competitive registry fees and exemption from insurance premium tax.
  • Global recognition: Cayman Islands vessel registration is internationally recognized, with documentation issued in English, to help streamline global operations.
  • Flexible registration: Owners benefit from the flexibility of registration, as vessels need not physically visit the Cayman Islands for registration, offering convenience and efficiency.
  • Proof of title and mortgage registration: The registry provides robust support for proof of title and facilitates the registration of mortgages on vessels.
  • Commercial charter opportunities: Yachts registered in the Cayman Islands can be coded and operated as commercial charter vessels, expanding opportunities for vessel owners.
  • Red Ensign privileges: Vessels can proudly fly the 'Red Ensign' and enjoy privileges such as diplomatic protection, British consular assistance, and Royal Naval protection, subject to asset availability and threat nature.

How we can help

Established in 1989, our office in the Cayman Islands has a long history of providing the highest level of service to an international range of clients. Our corporate, trust and regulatory teams apply detailed local knowledge to international scenarios, providing guidance and constructive solutions to our clients' challenges.

Operating in cooperation with our global marine hubs, our Cayman Islands office offers a comprehensive range of services for both the luxury yacht and commercial shipping sectors, including a fixed fee registration service to all vessel owners wishing to take advantage of the benefits of the Cayman Islands Registry. Our service assumes full responsibility for the entire registration process on behalf of the owner.
Our fees include all registry fees and disbursements for providing the internationally recognised Cayman Islands certificate of British Registry.

If you have any questions, please contact:

Tamara Hill
Head of Trust & Corporate Services – Cayman Islands

Morgan Bodden
Account Manager – Cayman Islands