BVI Ship Registration & Admiralty Disputes

Key Contacts

Senior Partner


Of Counsel


With over 30 years experience in handling BVI ship registration and admiralty disputes, O’Neal Webster offers the full range of services required to secure the registration of vessels in the BVI and advises on all matters relating to the acquisition, financing, operation, and transfer of vessels in the territory.

The British Virgin Islands’ reputation as a premier sailing destination has also made it an attractive choice for the registration of vessels. The Virgin Islands Shipping Registry is a founding member of the Red Ensign Group (REG) of British Registers. Until recently, the BVI had concentrated on, and sustained, a niche as specialists in pleasure yacht registrations.  However, the BVI Shipping Registry upgraded in September 2015 to a full category 1 REG Registry, capable of registering pleasure and commercial vessels of any type, size, and tonnage.

There is no VAT or any other levy imposed with respect to registration in the BVI, except for the basic registration fee and a very modest annual register maintenance fee. Refer to this article to learn more about registry qualifications. 

The firm’s litigation practice also has a significant admiralty component, as we advise and act for an international clientele in matters concerning the arrest and bail of vessels, claims for and against vessels, and limitation of liability for maritime claims.

O’Neal Webster is the BVI correspondent of the London Steamship Owners Mutual Insurance Association Ltd. – one of the world’s leading Protection and Indemnity (P & I) Clubs.

Contact Paul Dennis, KC, Senior Partner and Head of the Shipping and Admiralty Department at +1 284-393-5800 or

Recent Publications

Virgin Islands Shipping Registry to Become a Statutory Body

The Virgin Islands Shipping and Maritime Authority Act, 2023 successfully received assent on October 16, 2023. It is now imminent that The Virgin Islands Shipping Registry will become independent of the Central Government of the Virgin Islands and carry out…
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