Landlocked San Marino debuts the world’s latest ship registry

Landlocked, mountainous San Marino – population 34,000 – is home to the world’s newest ship registry. The newly appointed San Marino Ship Register (SMSR) is parterning with the Maritime Authority of the Republic of San Marino to register all ships, whether yachts or VLCCs.

“The brand new partnership between the San Marino Maritime Authority and San Marino Ship Register will establish San Marino’s position as a key player in the maritime industry,” commented Marco Conti, director general of the San Marino Civil Aviation and Maritime Navigation Authority, while Domenico Miliziano, president of the SMSR said: “San Marino Ship Register embodies the values of sustainable development and regulatory compliance, with an eye towards cost-effectiveness.”

The registry boasts a 48-hour registration process, attractive fee and tax regimes, and has no restrictions based on nationality.

Located on the northeastern side of the Apennine Mountains, San Marino covers a land area of just over 61 sq km. It is not a member of the European Union. The tiny, super rich enclave, surrounded by Italy, lays claim to being the oldest extant sovereign state, as well as the oldest constitutional republic. San Marino has been a member of the International Maritime Organization since 2002.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. And we’re in it for the tonnage money. Don’t expect us to have safety inspectors. We’ll leave that to the classification societies. Don’t expect us to enforce the laws of San Marino on any ship, be it a cabin cruiser or a cruise ship. Not our business! We’re just in it for the tonnage money, so long as we underbid the other f.o.c.’s. We will join the Dutch auction for flag of registry amongst the other bottom-feeding flags. Hamstrung by national maritime, safety and labour legislation under traditional flags such as UK, France, Canada, etc? Not a problem! We’ll just strike up a subsidiary or second register where tedious U.K. etc maritime laws do not apply. Can’t have those pesky unions spoiling our bottom line. What a joke! Does anyone with shipboard experience take any of this stuff seriously? More to the point, do cruise ship passengers understand that when they board a glitzy cruise ship under one of these flags they enter a regulatory ‘black hole’, without benefit of law? Probably not, but provided they spend their money who’s going to tell them. Not the cruise ship operators, that’s for sure. World shipping needs to clear away this phenomenon, have one United Nations register, and the same rules and enforcement for everyone. Removing the Dutch auction for ship registers may actually work to everyone’s benefit.

    1. Bless. The UK has been considered a FOC for years. and France is actually listed as one by the ILO..
      “Does anyone with shipboard experience take any of this stuff seriously?” Yes, but most will not take your rant seriously. One of the reasons the UK flag became unpopular was its inefficiency and incompetence.
      “traditional flags such as … Canada”. I’ve never really considered Canada to be a “traditional” flag, more a Home Trade (Great Lakes) sort of flag.
      Yes, ship registries such as Belize and Cambodia are a joke but they represent a vanishingly small no of ships or tonnages, not as you maintain. Then the BMA which has rather a large feet, including most of the cruise ships you referred to, and therefore comes under your bigoted dishonest rant about cruise ships.
      I suggest you go and learn a few facts.
      PS. Adding M.Sc. in the context doesn’t impress you know but it does indicate you have problems.

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