Flagging a vessel with the Cayman Islands involves the following activities:
Qualification of Vessel and Vessel Name Availability
Determining whether the vessel itself qualifies for registration is based on its safety record. Additionally, it requires establishing whether the vessel name is available and qualifies for registration in the Cayman Islands.
There are three ports where a name can be registered - George Town, The Creek and Bloody Bay. If a name is not available in one port, it may be available in another. If the name is available, an owner can also reserve a name across all three ports. A name is reserved period for a period of 12 months and may be renewed. Names may be requested or reserved by an Owner, Authorised Person, Representative Person, or other party such as a shipyard, particularly in the case of new-build yachts, subject to the approval of the Registrar.
Establishing whether the owner is bona-fide and qualifies to own a Cayman-flagged vessel (see Ownership Structures). Determining whether the owner has legal title to the vessel and that there are no pre-existing conditions prohibiting the vessel from being registered with Cayman. In addition, if the owner of the vessel is not resident or owning company is not incorporated in Cayman, then a Cayman Representative Person must be appointed.
Dealing Directly with the Registry or via Third Party Service Provider
An owner may act on his own behalf in registration matters or may appoint an Authorised Person to do so. If the owner (individual or body corporate) is not resident on the island, then the owner must appoint a Cayman Representative Person.
If the owner (or joint-owners) prefers, he/she may appoint an authorised representative (known as an Authorised Person) to act on their behalf. Contact a private sector maritime services provider either in Cayman and/or overseas.
Where the owner (in any of the above-referenced forms) is not resident or incorporated in the Cayman Islands then a Representative Person must be appointed to represent the owning party for serving any necessary documents and issuing instructions under Cayman law. This appointment does not affect the owner’s right to deal directly with the Registry in the interim initial stages (or via their appointed Authorised Person), as necessary. Contact a private sector maritime services provider in Cayman.
Completion of Registration Forms and Submission of Supporting Documentation and Fees
Required forms, supporting documentation and fees for the various types of registrations and other services are outlined in Cayman Vessel Registration & Related Services Matrix
All forms and supporting documentation may be provided either in originals or electronically. If provided electronically, it must be accompanied by an Undertaking (see form CISR 856) Section 5 iii) to deliver the originals/certified hard copies within 7 days, which can be submitted to any of the following Cayman Registry locations:
- CISR Head Office in George Town, Cayman Islands
- CISR European Regional Office in Southampton, UK
- Cayman Islands Government Office in London, UK
- CISR Asian Regional Office in Singapore
- CISR Representative Office in Athens, Greece
- CISR Representative Office in Tokyo, Japan
- CISR Representative Office in Fort Lauderdale, United States
Fees can be paid via cheques (drawn on a local Cayman Islands bank), online credit card payments or bank wire payment. See Payment Methods
Issuance of Certificate of British Registry and Carving and Marking Note
The relevant Certificate of British Registry will be issued once all documentation and fees have been received.
Additionally, a Carving and Marking (C&M) Note which specifies how the vessel is to be marked will be issued. Once a vessel is properly marked, an authorised surveyor will verify this by signing and returning the C&M Note to the Registrar within 21 days. The completed C&M Note may be submitted electronically within the allotted 21 days, however the original should be returned within 7 days thereafter.
Ship Radio Station Licensing
Please note that this is not a function of the Cayman Islands Shipping Registry, but is carried out by the Utility Regulation and Competition Office of the Cayman Islands (OfReg).
The Radio Call Sign is allocated by the CISR, but MMSI numbers are assigned by OfReg. The operator/s of the radio equipment are required to have a Radio Operator's Certificate appropriate to the equipment fitted for the vessel. The Shipping Registry does, however, issue the Cargo Ship Safety Radio Certificate either directly or through Class and other authorised bodies, which include the 6 Societies authorised by Cayman and agencies such as Selmer Marconi.
Cayman does not maintain an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon or EPIRB database for 319 MMSI registrations; therefore all vessel owners should register their EPIRBs with either NOAA in the USA (www.beaconregistration.noaa.gov) or with the HM Coastguard in the UK (firstname.lastname@example.org). Both authorities accept EPIRB registration information for Cayman-flagged vessels. It is the sole responsibility of the vessel owner (or authorised representative) to ensure proper registration of their respective EPIRBs.
Once all the relevant forms, supporting documentation and fees are received, a Certificate of British Registry (COBR) is issued along with a Carving and Marking Note.