A high degree of compliance

In 2006, the Registre International Fran├žais (RIF) created a modern, clear and efficient register for commercial vessels and yachts. Benefits of this include quality and reduced costs. Commercial vessels that are registered with the RIF are highly ranked, coming at the top of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding white list. This fact confirms the high degree of compliance that is associated with the certification system - especially with standards from the International Maritime Organization and the International Labour Organization - which provides a great advantage for the safety performance indicators that companies are assessed on.

A quick and easy process

The registration process is managed by a single contact; many international law firms advise shipowners on this, with Watson Farley & Williams, Stephenson Harwood, Ince & Co, and HWF - the recently rebranded Holman Fenwick Willan - being among the best for maritime law. For those who are looking to register their vessel alone, French diplomatic assistance is available in more than 160 countries.

There are no fees for ship registration and the delivery of statutory certificates; however, mortgage fees still apply. The advantages of the French tonnage taxation system are also well known, having been approved by the EU.

Over the past two years, there has been an increase in ship registration under the RIF. This has become more attractive to yacht owners following legislation that was enacted in 2016, which changed registration requirements for vessel length and owner nationality. Vessels can now be registered with the RIF if the manager or bareboat charterer are in France, even when the shipowner is based in a foreign country.

An employer can also be exempt from paying employers' social security contributions by signing crew members up to the French social security system. In order to register with the RIF, at least 25% of the crew must be EU nationals.