What is the National Ship Register?

Ship Register

The vessel fleet is of significant importance to the national economy. Being so relevant, in Spain the National Ship Register system is doubled.

The Ship Register has a public administrative nature. It is accessed for the purpose of ship’s registration, loss, change of category and name. Afterwards at the Public Company Register all incidents and events that have private legal effects and are related to the ship will be recorded. Events such as property transfer, ship mortgage, taxes or others must be recorded at the Company Register.

Entering a ship into the Company Register must be done at the corresponding maritime district as per number plate. Any entry at one register must be reflected at the other in order to achieve coordination and complete, up-to-date information.

General information on ship registration in Spain 

In Spain, ship registration grants protection under Spanish law and provides all related benefits and guarantees. All ships must be registered at one of the several maritime district registries that answer to the Administration of the Merchant Navy.

Each maritime district has its own Ship Register answering to the corresponding local maritime Authority. These are public and administrative registrations. 

Categories make the organizing system where ships, boats and any other vessel appear arranged in relation to their tonnage and the type of activity they carry out. For example, 6th Category (Lista 6ª) comprises vessels used for sport, leisure, or recreational activities that have a lucrative purpose. 7th Category (Lista 7ª) registers ships or vessels used for sport or recreational activities with no lucrative aim.

Which ships need to be registered?

Ship registrations are tied to an entry on the Open Ship Register. However, there are significant differences if the ship is a recreational vessel. In the case of a foreing or newly built ship, it must be registered and awarded a license allowing it to fly the national flag on the ship. Any recreational ship under 12 metres in length and CE marked can be registered.

The CE marking is a mandatory requirement, and to authenticate it, a document sanctioned by an official organization must be provided. It is also mandatory that the manufacturer provides the Spanish Maritime Register all the information related to the vessel specifications.

A vessel’s number plate is an alphanumeric code that proves its registration at the Spanish Ship Registry. This process is mandatory for a vessel sailing international waters. It is also worth noting that any ship over 2.5 metres in length must have its own number plate, with the exception of beach recreational crafts and other floating devices.

Ship Register Categories

A ship can only be registered in one of the categories of the organized system according to its activity and origin, and can only be assigned one number plate. There are a total of nine categories:

  • 1st (Lista primera), oil rigs and other offshore platforms, supply and support vessels and seagoing tugboats.
  • 2nd (Lista segunda), domestic-built passenger ships or cargo ships.
  • 3rd (Lista tercera), fishing boats, domestic built or imported.
  • 4th (Lista cuarta), aquaculture vessels and fishing support boats (Fishing Vessels Register).
  • 5th (Lista quinta), tugs and other boats working within port or bay waters.
  • 6th (Lista sexta), recreational vessels with a commercial purpose.
  • 7th (Lista séptima), vessels used for sport or recreational fishing vessels.
  • 8th (Lista octava), vessels belonging to a public body.
  • 9th or provisional category (Lista novena o provisional), vessels being built.

Register Requirements

Required documentation for owners who want to register their vessel:

  • Vessel conformity approval.
  • Engine conformity approval.
  • Inspection certificate.
  • Bill of sale of second-hand vessels, with the taxes on Property Conveyances and Documented Legal Acts (ITPAJD) payment settled, if the ship flies a foreign flag.
  • Copy of the owner’s ID.
  • Technical Inspection of Vessels report (ITB).
  • Certification of the removal from the country of origin’s Ship Register, in the case of a foreign vessel.

Why must you register a ship, and which benefits can you claim?

It’s of great importance to register a ship, for the legal framework under which it will be governed will correspond to the flag it flies. To be able to fly a national flag it must be assigned a number plate . Once this process is done, crew members and the ship itself are protected under the laws that nation confers and have certainty over their legal rights and obligations, which are granted should they ever need them.

At Suisca Group, we are veterans of the sector with more than 30 years of experience. We offer comprehensive service at port in any task required thanks to our specialized companies. We guarantee the supply of ships and boats, we have a wide stock of provisions and other ship products. We do our best to establish a relationship of mutual trust with our clients, that’s our hallmark.

We provide 24 hour customer service to cover the needs of your ship wherever you are. If you need ship supplies we provide an effective 24/365 service of the best quality and in any port.

M.: We provide all information needed to register your vessel and get your number plate at the National Register. At Suisca, we are here to help.