Under Thai Vessel Act B.E 2481, if a foreigner wishes to purchase a Thai vessel or import the same, the purpose of its uses should put into consideration for its registration in Thailand. The importation of a vessel in Thailand is only allowed for a specific purpose such as tourism, sports and business. An unregistered vessel, though it qualifies to be registered as Thai Vessel in Thailand, will always be subjected for fines and/or forfeiture. And all those on board will be penalized by committing an offense on boarding of an unregistered Thai Vessel.
Vessel Importation for Tourism and/or Sports Purposes
The vessel must be properly documented and brought-out from the port of its origin with a duly issued port clearance before it can be imported or brought-in at the ports of Thailand. The vessel should be brought in for the purpose of Tourism and/or Sports. And please be advised that the purpose or objective for which the vessel is brought in to Thailand cannot be changed during its sojourn in the Kingdom.
To change the status / importation purpose of the vessel, it must be brought-out of Thailand and a new port clearance (from outside of Thailand) must be secured first before it can be brought-in back again in any ports of Thailand for a different purpose. Pursuant to Thailand regulations for vessel importation, a vessel brought into Thailand for tourism and/or sports purposes can stay in the Kingdom of Thailand for six (6) months.
In case a foreign vessel has met all the requirements to be imported and registered as a Thai Vessel, the following procedures shall also be observed:
1) Pre-importation Procedure
The vessel must be properly documented or brought-out from the port of its origin with a duly issued port clearance before it can be brought-in any ports of Thailand. Moreover, a Radio Certificate must be previously secured from The National Telecommunications Commission of Thailand before a foreign vessel can be allowed to be imported and registered as a Thai vessel in the port of Thailand. Failing to do so, a fine of THB 20,000 shall be imposed by Thai Government.
2) Registering a Thai Company Limited
Under Thai Laws, a foreigner cannot own a vessel in Thailand. In case a foreigner wants to own a Thai vessel or import a vessel for business or for the purpose of converting the vessel registration to a Thai Vessel, the owner of that vessel should register a Thai Company Limited first, and then, own the vessel through the Thai company. However, according to section 7 of Thai Vessel Act B.E. 2481, for a person to be a legitimate owner of a registered Thai Vessel to engage with trading on Thai waters, should have one of the following qualifications:
3) Thai Nationality;
– should be an ordinary partner, having all partners of Thai Nationality;
– should be a state enterprise under the Thai law on budgetary proceeding;
– should be a juristic person established under Thai law, as follows;
- I. All partners of ordinary partnership must be of Thai nationality.
- II. All partners of limited partnership with unlimited liability must be of Thai nationality and must have no less than seventy per cent of capital owned by persons who are not foreigners.
- III. A limited company in which not less than half of the directors are Thai nationals and not less than Seventy percent of the registered capital belongs to persons who are not foreigners, and it has no regulation allowing the issuance of bearer share certificate; or
- IV. A public company in which not less than half of the directors are Thai nationals and not less than seventy percent of the paid-up capital belongs to persons who are not foreigner.
However; thereafter registration of a Thai Company Limited, the company’s name and the corresponding address must be registered at Tax and Vat at Revenue Department for the purpose of tax assessment in the rate of 7% of the appraisal value of the imported vessel.
4) Procedure during Vessel Importation
After the port clearance and Import Radio Certificate have been obtained, the following procedures should be observed upon arrival at the port of Thailand:
5) Immigration office
Thereafter registration of Thai Company Limited, preparation of the company document and obtainment of import radio certificate, the next procedure will be importation of the vessel to the port of Thailand. Whereas; when the vessel arrives to Thailand port, all passengers of the vessel should proceed to the Immigration Office, present their passports and have it stamped by the Immigration Official within twenty-four hours before they can be allowed entry to Thailand.
6) Harbor Department
According to the Harbor Department, registration of Thai vessel has two procedures. First, the owner of the vessel must report at Harbor Department within twenty-four hours after the vessel’s arrival to the port of Thailand. The Harbor officer shall then issue a General Declaration for the purpose of the business.
7) Customs Department
After having received the general declaration from Harbor Department, the next procedure is, the owner of the vessel must submit the Thai company a document of the Last certificate. By appointment, the Customs officer comes to inspect and prepares an importation payment of the value of vessel. Thereafter, customs official shall check and inspect the vessel for the assessment of taxes in the rate of 7 percent of the appraisal value.
8) Cancellation Certificate
If the foreign vessel has paid the importation of Customs Fee, the owner of the vessel must remove the last certificate or issue a cancellation certificate.
9) Harbor Department
After payment of taxes and obtainment of the importation certificate and cancellation certificate from last port, the next step is the registration of the Vessel as a Thai Nationality. Thereafter, the owner of vessel should arrange an appointment with Marine inspector to inspect the vessel. If the official approved a certificate of inspection, the owner of vessel shall submit the Thai company document with Last Certificate and Cancellation Certificate to register it as a Thai vessel.
Therefore; according to section 8 of Thai vessel act B.E. 2481 the vessels upon registration under the Thai vessel Act, shall be deemed a Thai vessel to as follows:
Trading in Thai waters
- – A motor vessel of ten gross tonnage and upwards;
- – A sea vessel , Other than a motor vessel, of twenty gross tonnage and upwards;
- – A river vessel, Other than a motor vessel, of Fifty gross tonnage and upwards;
- – A motor vessel of any size;
- – A vessel, other than a motor vessel, of six gross tonnage and upwards;
According to the regulation of Thai vessel Act B.E. 248, if the vessel has a motor of ten gross tonnage or upwards the Harbor Department will issue the Certificate of Registration for Thai Vessel and Vessel License whereas; the Vessel License will be issued for a period of one year and can be renewed every year by appointment by the Harbor officer who will inspect the vessel and issue a new Certificate of Survey before renewal procedure.
At G.A.M. Legal Alliance, we have a team of skillful specialist that can guide and assist you along the process. Contact us now for free consultation on this matter.