beta This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what beta means

HMRC internal manual

Tonnage Tax Manual

Qualifying companies and ships: Restricted certificates

Seagoing: Certification of ships

In order to qualify for tonnage tax, a ship must be certified for navigation at sea without significant restrictions as to the mode, location or circumstances of navigation.  Restrictions on the certificate that limit the ship to navigating only

  • on an occasional basis
  • for a few months in a year
  • in particular weather conditions
  • within a minimal distance from coast or port of refuge
  • within sheltered waters as defined by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency

preclude the ship from qualifying for tonnage tax.

Examples of such certificates are the Class VI or Class VI(A) certificates (or EC Class C certificates) that may be issued by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to passenger ships engaged on domestic voyages within the UK.

These certificates impose a number of restrictions on when the ships may operate at sea.  These restrictions may cover:

  • where the ship operates - a ship with a Class VI(A) certificate may operate no more than 3 miles from land
  • when a ship operates - a ship with a Class VI certificate may not operate in winter or at night
  • how many passengers may be carried – a ship with a Class VI(A) certificate may not carry more than 50 passengers.

Ships that have been issued with these certificates are only certificated for navigation at sea if they are operating in accordance with the restrictions set out in the certificate.  It follows that a ship with a Class VI certificate is not certified as seagoing if it is operational in winter or at night.

Companies operating sea going ships must have a Safety Management Certificate and each vessel must have a Document of Compliance in accordance with the ISM code – see TTM03515.


Further details on certification of ships TTM15030