Foreign Corporations Can Easily Register Vessels in Liberia

In order to register a vessel under the Liberian Flag, the vessel owner must satisfy the genuine link requirement between the vessel’s owner and the vessel’s Flag State. While Liberian nonresident corporations are the most common kind of owner of vessels under the Liberian Flag, it is also possible for a non-Liberian foreign corporate entity (a trust, partnership, corporation or company or other legal person registered in another jurisdiction) to register a vessel under the Liberian Flag. To do so, the owning entity would first register in Liberia as a Foreign Maritime Entity, also known as an FME.

To be eligible to register as an FME, the foreign entity must have legal existence in its underlying jurisdiction, the power to own or operate vessels, and the capacity to sue and be sued in its own name. It must also remain in goodstanding in its underlying jurisdiction and in Liberia.

Registration as an FME does not change the status of the entity in its home jurisdiction and there is no change in the ownership of the vessel. Nor is there any change to existing loans and other agreements related to the vessel. (Note: Once a vessel is registered, the Mortgage is filed in the Deputy Commissioner’s Office by the Liberian FME, the registered ship owner in Liberia. The Liberian law will govern the mortgage, however the existing loan agreement, signed by the foreign entity, does not have to be altered and may be governed by a jurisdiction other than Liberia. The loan agreement may be recorded as an annex to the Liberian Mortgage, however it is not mandatory.)

The FME registration is effectively a Liberian branch of the entity. The Registration permits Service of Process in Liberia, via the FME’s Registered Agent in Liberia, The LISCR Trust Company. A Liberian FME is formed exclusively to own a vessel in Liberia and not to conduct any other type of business as an FME. Instructions and a model registration form is available on our website: (

Please contact the Liberian Vessel Registrations Department at for more information about registering a vessel in Liberia, including the registration of vessels owned by foreign owners. Also feel free to contact with any FME or other Liberian Corporate Registry related questions.