In order to qualify for tonnage tax a ship must be ‘certificated for navigation at sea by the competent authority of any country or territory’ – FA00/SCH22/PARA19 (4).

There are two important points to note:

The ship must be certificated to operate at sea at the time it is in use

The certification must cover the normal commercial operation of the ship (see below).

If a ship is not ‘certificated for navigation at sea’ then it does not qualify for tonnage tax. This applies even if the appropriate competent authority would have certificated the ship had they been approached.

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