Full Ownership

Registration of ships in the Dutch Register is governed by the Civil Code (Burgerlijk Wetboek), the Commercial Code (Wetboek van Koophandel), the Ships Register Code (Kadasterwet) and the Certificates of Registration Act (Zeebrievenwet).

Conditions for registration

The shipowner must have, or establish, a business or branch office in the Netherlands under Dutch law. More information on establishing a business in the Netherlands can be found on www.business.gov.nl.

From this office the ship must be managed by one or more authorized persons who are empowered to act on behalf of the owner in all matters regarding the ship, its master and crewmembers. A substitute with full powers should be appointed in the case of absence.

If the owner wishes to transfer the company’s management to a dedicated management company, then the owner need not establish an office in the Netherlands, as long as the aforementioned management company is based in the Netherlands and performs the duties as described under the requirements. In this case the shipowner is still named as owner on the certificate of registration. 

It is possible to outsource tasks or activities, such as ISM within or outside the Netherlands. The Dutch administration does not interfere with the internal organisation of your shipping company as long as there is compliance with the rights and responsibilities as set down in UNCLOS (the Law of the Sea Convention) regarding the genuine link, and verifiable at your office in the Netherlands.


Authorized staff in the office which operates a ship registered in the Netherlands are responsible for keeping the following data and documents in the Dutch office:

  1. position of the seagoing vessel;
  2. state of the technical maintenance of the seagoing vessel;
  3. the names, functions and the certificates of competence of the crew members;
  4. personnel data, as referred to in Article 3, of the Seafarers Act (Wet zeevarenden);
  5. the individual maritime labour agreements with the crew members serving on board the seagoing vessel and also the collective labour agreements which apply to the crew members;
  6. the names of passengers and of other persons on board the seagoing vessel, as applicable, and
  7. the nature and composition of the cargo in the case of hazardous or noxious substances.

The Dutch Register sets no limits on a ship’s age, but ships are required to be classified by one of the authorized classification societies (recognized organisations).