Ship registration and notification of changes
All ships with a length of 15 metres or more with a domicile other than the Åland region must be registered as a ship in the Transport Register maintained by Traficom before they can be used for merchant shipping. At the owner's request, a ship with a length of 10 metres or more that is to be used in merchant shipping may also be entered in the Register (voluntary registration). The ship is issued a Certificate of Nationality as a confirmation of the registration.
Yachts and boats that with a length of 5.5 metres or more must be registered as a watercraft in the Transport Register.
A vessel to be registered must be Finnish. Provisions on the nationality of ships are laid down in the Maritime Act.
The ship’s owner must make sure that the ship is in the Register within 30 days of the transfer of the ownership right and must also notify the change of register data to Traficom. If the ship’s name has changed, it cannot be used for merchant shipping until the name change has been reported to the Register.
As a general rule, the data in the Register is public. You may order an extract of a ship’s register data or an encumbrance certificate which shows mortgage and encumbrance data. These documents are subject to a fee.
Deletion of a ship from the Register
A ship must be deleted from the Register if it no longer meets the requirements for registration or if it is wrecked, declared condemned or missing. The owner of the ship must apply for deletion of the ship from the Register within 30 days of becoming aware of the above.
If the ship has changed nationality, the last Finnish owner of the ship is required to apply for deletion of the ship from the Register.
When the ship is deleted from the Register, it may not have any valid mortgages or other encumbrances.
Registration and removal of a ship under construction
A ship under construction in Finland may, upon request, be entered in the Register as a ship under construction if the ship will fulfil the requirements for registration once completed. If a ship under construction is intended to be taken abroad for registration upon completion, it may nevertheless be entered in the Register as a ship under construction irrespective of its future nationality and purpose. Once it is completed, a ship registered as a ship under construction must either be registered as a ship or deleted from the Register.
When a ship is deleted from the Register, it may not have any currently valid mortgages or other encumbrances.
Ship call signs
Finnish ships engaged in merchant shipping in international waters and entered in the Register must have a call sign compliant with the international system. However, non-self-propelled vessels need not have a call sign.
Traficom maintains a joint nationwide list of call signs assigned to ships. Ships registered on Åland will thus also be issued call signs by Traficom.
Call signs can be requested by sending a free-form application to firstname.lastname@example.org
Financial support for finnish merchant ships
As stated in the act of improving the competitiveness of the ships used in merchant shipping (Laki meriliikenteessä käytettävien alusten kilpailukyvyn parantamisesta 1277/2007), a Finnish ship that is registered in the Transport register, has a possibility to apply financial support for merchant ships (Kauppamerenkulun tuki) if it meets the set criteria. More information about this, (only in finnish).