6.1 Steps to registration

The following steps describe the process of registering a ship under the AISR in very general terms. All steps must be completed in order for the registration to be finalised.

  1. The owner/operator of the ship lodges an application with supporting documents (see section 6.2) and the required fee.
  2. Where necessary the Shipping Registration Office (SRO) will advise the applicant of any outstanding requirements related to the information required under s.15 of the SRA.
  3. Where necessary the Registrar of Ships will advise the applicant if any more information is required for assessment, or if there are issues with the assessment.
  4. Where necessary, the need for a pre-registration inspection will be notified. Once details of the inspection are confirmed and the required payment is received, the pre-registration inspection will be conducted by AMSA.
  5. Where the ship meets registration requirements the “Marking Note” showing registration particulars to be marked permanently on the ship will be issued to the applicant by the SRO.
  6. The applicant marks the ship in accordance with the instructions, completes and returns the Marking Note to the SRO. Any outstanding documentary requirements are to be completed by this stage.
  7. The SRO completes the registration process by entering the ship on the AISR and sending the applicant ship’s Australian International Registration Certificate.
  8. The Regulations allow 12 months to complete the application and registration process. Where this does not prove possible the applicant may apply for more time but this would attract the extension fee described in section 5.1.3 of this guide. This extension fee must be paid before any extension is granted.

This process will only be varied where the vessel seeks provisional registration under s.22 of the SRA. For ships seeking registration on the AISR this will normally only be used where the ship is under construction. Provisional registration will be considered on a case by case basis.

6.1.1 Forms

All AMSA forms required to apply for registration can be provided by contacting the Registrar of Ships.

6.2 Documents required for the application process

As noted above, an application for registration must be accompanied by a range of documents and the lodgement fee (see Section 5.1 of this Guide).

The following documents may be relevant:

  1. Application for Australian International Registration on AMSA form 335*
  2. Declaration of ownership and nationality on AMSA form 208*
  3. Notice of appointment of registered agent on AMSA form 157*
  4. Document describing the ship (see section 6.3 of this guide)
  5. Documents giving evidence of ownership (see section 6.4 of this guide)
  6. Demise charter party, where if applicable (see section 6.5 of this guide)
  7. Tonnage certificate (see section 6.6 of this guide)
  8. Call sign licence (if applicable) (see section 6.7 of this guide)
  9. Evidence of marking of ship (see section 6.8 of this guide)
  10. Evidence of a collective agreement (see section 3.2.2 of this guide)
  11. Compensation insurance (see section 3.2.3 of this Guide)
  12. Port State and Classification Society Survey and Certification Records (see section 3.2.4 of this guide)
  13. Declaration of trading pattern and crew composition (see section 3.1.2 of this guide)
  14. Evidence of closure of previous foreign registration (see sections 3.1.2 and 6.10 of this guide). Where time frames are tight then evidence of intention to close may be sufficient, however, evidence of closure must be provided immediately after registration is issued if it is to be retained.

* If the ship is foreign-owned and under demise charter to an Australian, these forms must be signed by the demise charterer.

For most items above original application forms are required, however:

  1. For items (e) to (g), either original documents or certified copies may be submitted.
  2. For items (j) to (l) certified copies of the documents are sufficient.

Depending on the circumstances additional documents may be needed to support the application and this are detailed in sections below.

6.3 Describing the ship

The documentation required to describe the ship varies depending on its registration history:

6.3.1 Ship not previously registered (in Australia or elsewhere)

The following is required:

  1. A Builder’s Certificate or, if the owner is unable to obtain one after taking all reasonable action.
  2. A statutory declaration, made by a person acquainted with the facts stating the prescribed particulars of the ship, any other particulars asked for on a Builder’s Certificate that are known to the person, and the grounds for the person’s belief that the particulars are correct.

6.3.2 Ship last registered in Australia

Where the ship was, or is currently, registered in Australia under the General Register the owner/ operator should provide a statutory declaration by a person acquainted with the facts specifying the respects (if any) in which the description of the ship has changed since last registered.

6.3.3 Ship last registered under foreign law

Where the ship is, or was previously registered under a foreign flag both of the following should be provided:

  1. A copy of the foreign registration certificate or an official certificate describing the ship.
  2. Where applicable, a statutory declaration by a person acquainted with the facts specifying the respects (if any) in which the information in the certificate is wrong or does not give the required particulars of its description (the required particulars are listed in the Builder’s Certificate form).

It is also necessary that evidence of closure of foreign registration will (or suspension under a demise charter) be provided before registration under the AISR can be issued. (See section 6.10 of this guide).

6.4 Evidence of ownership

Section 11 of the SRA specifies that there are 64 shares in a ship and the majority of these must be owned by an Australian or an Australian company (see section 3.1.1 of the Guide) with an ACN12. The documentation required to provide evidence of ownership will vary depending on the ship’s registration history.

6.4.1 Ship not previously registered (in Australia or elsewhere)

The owner/operator should provide the builder’s certificate, together with documents relating to any changes of ownership since building.

If the ship was built outside Australia and acquired by the owner outside Australia and those documents are not available, then the owner/operator is to provide the document by which the owner acquired the ship noting section 6.4.4 below.

6.4.2 Ship last registered in Australia

Where the ship was registered in Australia under the General register the owner/operator needs to provide a statutory declaration detailing ownership since the ship was last registered.

6.4.3 Ship last registered under foreign law

Where the ship was previously registered under a foreign flag the following should be provided:

a) Any document that is evidence of title under the foreign law; and
b) Any documents relating to any changes of ownership since last registered or in respect of the sale of the vessel to the owner seeking registration.

6.4.4 Types of documents related to evidence of ownership

Evidence of ownership or changes of ownership can be provided by means of bills of sale or evidence of transmission of ownership by operation of law (e.g. probate, letters or administration, court orders). As ownership can change in several ways evidence provided may vary. Generally the following documents will be accepted as evidence of changes:

a) Sale of vessel. The owner/operate should provide original Bills of Sale13 or other document transferring ownership for each change of ownership. The document must be signed by the transferor, specifying:

  1. the name of the ship.
  2. the nature and extent of the interest in the ship to which it relates; and
  3. the name and address of the transferor and transferee.

If no Bill of Sale was made at the time of sale, or it has since been lost, the owner/operator should have the seller prepare a new one containing the information detailed and a statement of the actual date of sale.

An agreement for sale is acceptable if it is supported by proof that the sale was finalised.

b) Transmission of ownership on death of a sole owner or owner-in-common. The owner/ operator should provide a copy of the probate notice, or letters of administration, which can be obtained from the State or Territory probate office that handled the estate.

In these cases, ownership or power to dispose of the ship passes to the deceased owner’s legal personal representative or to the beneficiary under a will, depending on the case.

c) Transmission of ownership on death of a joint owner. The owner/operator should provide “Evidence of Death” (either death certificate, certificate of burial, probate or letters of administration).

d) A statutory declaration. The owner/operator should provide a statutory declaration made by a person well acquainted with the facts, to the effect that the deceased person mentioned in the document giving evidence of death is the same as the joint owner of the ship. In this case, ownership passes automatically to the surviving joint owner.

e) Transmission of ownership by order of a Court. The owner/operator should provide a copy of the Order, which may be obtained from the court that made it.

6.4.5 Use of Statutory declarations

Where gaps remain in the ownership history the owner/operator can provide a statutory declaration, made by a person acquainted with the facts of the case setting out particulars of the history of the ownership of the ship. Where the owner/operator cannot provide a statutory declaration that effectively addresses all gaps in the ship’s ownership history then a further statutory declaration is to be provided and a Notice of Intention to Register published on the AMSA website as detailed in Part 7.0 of this Guide.

6.5 Demise charter parties

Demise charter means the demise, letting, hire or delivery of the ship to the charterer under a charter party, by virtue of which the charterer has whole possession and control of the ship (including the right to appoint the master and crew of the ship).

Evidence of a demise charter (the demise charter party) is only required if the ship is a foreign ship and operated under a demise (or bare boat) charter by an Australian based operator whose principal place of business is Australia. If the ship is operated under a demise charter, the charterer should also complete an extra declaration titled ‘Declaration by Charterer’ using AMSA form 169.

6.6 Tonnage certificate

All ships seeking registration on the AISR must have an International Tonnage Certificate (1969) before registration can be completed. Tonnage measurement and the issue of the tonnage certification must be undertaken by one of the recognized Classification Societies referred to in section 3.1.3 of this Guide.

6.7 Call sign, radio licences, MMSI numbers and beacon registration

Where a ship is registered on either the General or International registers it is required to have an Australian call sign, Maritime Mobile Service identity (MMSI) number and radio licence. The ships 406 MHz beacon(s) is also required to be coded with an Australian identity which will be the MMSI number.

6.7.1 Call sign and radio licence

The Australian radio licence for the ship’s radio station must be lodged with the SRO for noting once it has been issued. Radio licences and call signs are issued by the Radiocommunications Licensing and Telecommunications Deployment section of the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

It should be noted that AISR ships require a ‘Class C’ licence given the international pattern of operations. Vessels with a Class C licence are identified by a four alpha call sign as shown in the exampled in the figure below.

Ship Stations Class C Call Sign Template

aaaa Ship Stations Class C call sign template (example of typical call sign VJCK

The first two alpha characters will be either VJ, VK, VL, VM, VN or VZ.

The third and fourth are any alpha.

Contact details for the Radio Communications Licensing and Telecommunications Deployment section are as follows:

Telephone: 1300 850 115

Email: lais@acma.gov.au

Web: www.acma.gov.au (under Marine ship)

6.7.2 MMSI numbers

Maritime Mobile Service Identities, or MMSI numbers, are issued by RCC Australia, within AMSA. All AISR ships are required to have an MMSI number. An MMSI can be applied for using Australian maritime mobile service identity application (form 89)

The postal address for the issue of MMSI numbers and registration of 406 MHz distress beacons is that shown in section 2.1 of this Guide. Correspondence should be addressed to the “406/MMSI Database Manager – Search and Rescue”. Contact details are as follows:

Telephone: 1800 406 406 (International 61-2-6279 5766)

Email: ausbeacon@amsa.gov.au

6.7.3 406 MHz distress beacon

As all AISR ships will carry a 406 MHz distress beacon on the ship the applicant should register their beacon at beacons.amsa.gov.au

Contact details for beacons:

Telephone: 1800 406 406 (International 61-2-9332 5766)

Email: ausbeacon@amsa.gov.au

Online registration: beacons.amsa.gov.au

6.8  Evidence of marking of the ship

The evidence that a ship has been marked as required under the SRA and regulations is a signed and witnessed Marking Note. The Marking Note is sent by the Registrar of Ships to the owner/ operator detailing the ship’s registration particulars which must be permanently marked on the ship. These particulars include the Official Number, Ship’s Name, Home Port and Tonnage Length.

6.9  Evidence of closure of foreign registration

Where an owner/operator is seeking registration of a ship last registered under a foreign law they are to provide evidence from the foreign registration authority showing that the registration is closed. This must be done before a registration certificate can be issued.

Examples of the sort of documents that may be accepted for this purpose are a Certificate of Deletion or a certified copy of the foreign register showing the closing entry.

6.10 Other documents that may be required

6.10.1 Certificate of incorporation

To be provided to the Registrar of Ships as evidence of incorporation if the owner/operator, charterer or agent is a body corporate under the Corporations Act 2001.

6.10.2 Power of attorney

To be provided to the Registrar of Ships with any document that has been signed under power.

6.10.2 Written authority to sign

To be provided to the Registrar of Ships with any document that has been signed by an agent on behalf of an owner/operator.

Where the owner/operator is in the situation where some parts of the ship ownership history are not known, the person who signs the application for registration should:

  1. submit all of the available documents and statutory declarations; and
  2. make a statutory declaration that states all of the following:
    • to the best of your knowledge the persons claiming ownership are lawfully entitled to ownership of the ship.
    • explain the basis of the belief that the owner/operator are lawfully entitled to ownership.
    • explain the reasons certain documents or statutory declarations cannot be obtained.

c) lodge a notice of intention to apply for ship registration. On receipt AMSA will publish the notice on the AMSA website for a period of 30 days. 


12. ACN is an Australian Company Number issued under the Corporations Act 2001.
13. Where the ship was already an Australian registered ship the Bill of Sale should be made on AMSA form 159.