BVI Ship Registration & Admiralty Disputes

Key Contacts

Senior Partner


Senior Associate

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, QC, Senior Partner and Head of the Shipping and Admiralty Department at +1 284-393-5800 or

Recent Publications

EU Upgrades BVI to Whitelist Status

BVI government welcomes whitelist status announcement. Blacklist expands to include 12 jurisdictions. On 18 February 2020, EU Finance Ministers updated the EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, upgrading the British Virgin Islands to whitelist status, which designates the country as a fully…

Set Sail with O’Neal Webster

How to Register your Vessel with the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry Registering a vessel in the British Virgin Islands with O’Neal Webster is easy as 1, 2, 3…set sail! With an admiralty practice that spans over 25 years, we can…

BVI Shipping Registry sees increased registrations

The British Virgin Islands (“BVI”) Shipping Registry has reported an increase in the
registration of vessels in the first two months of 2010, when compared to the same period in 2009, and it is anticipated that the trend will continue throughout 2010.

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