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The first inhabitants of Central America were the Maya, long before the European voyages of exploration to the New World in 1502. Over the years, there were ongoing wars between England and Spain over territory. Finally, in 1798 a victory was won by settlers with British naval support, thus the Battle of St. George’s Caye evolved, and is now being celebrated each year on September 10th as a national holiday. After the British gained control over the settlement in 1862, British Honduras was formally declared a British Colony. Belize, formerly British Honduras, until the name was changed in 1973, was granted independence from the United Kingdom in 1981.


Belize is situated in Central America and is bordered to the north by Mexico, to the south and west by Guatemala and to the east by the Caribbean Sea, with the mainland extending to about 180 miles long and up to 68 miles wide. There are 6 districts in Belize. Corozal, the town which is set off by a multitude of coconut palms and flowering flamboyant trees, is 96 miles north of Belize City. Corozal Town is a modern well-planned community with wide boulevards and many parks. Orange Walk Town, also called the “Suga” city, is 66 miles north of Belize City and 30 miles south of Corozal Town, with roads leading in four directions linking to more than 20 villages. Cayo, the hub inland in the tourist industry, is the premier eco-tourist vacation destination in Belize, with rivers, rainforests, and ruins that spread out to over 2,000 square miles. With an astounding 880,000 acres of protected areas, nature reserves, and national parks, the Cayo District offers a massive array of activities to choose from. The district of Stann Creek has various land forms including extensive coastal savannahs and pine dominated ecosystems, it is also the home to the foothills of the Maya mountains and is home of unique cultural and ethnical traditions, which permits a wide-range of music, art, and nightlife. The sixth district is the Toledo District. This district is known for its agriculture and fishing, likewise an entrance to lush rainforests, waterfalls, and rivers, extensive cave systems, and numerous national parks and protected areas teeming with wildlife.

National Symbols

The national flag is red, white and blue and includes a coat of arms. The flag symbolizes unity of our nation. The national flower, the black orchid flower, has greenish-yellow petals and sepals with purple blotches near the base. The Mahogany Tree is a magnificent giant of the Belize rainforest, rising straight and tall to over a hundred feet, it emerges above the canopy of the surrounding trees with a crown of large, shiny leaves. The national bird, the Keel Billed Toucan is noted for its great, canoe-shaped bill, and brightly coloured, red, blue, and orange feathers. The Tapir/Mountain Cow is the national animal for Belize. It is the largest land mammal of the American tropics and is a stoutly built animal with short legs about the size of a donkey and weighs up to 600 pounds.


The country has a wonderfully diverse and rich society, made up of a unique multiplicity of ethnic variations.  Approximately 320,000 people live in Belize and they are made up of Mestizo, which is 44% of population, Mayan11% of population, Garifuna constitute 7% of population, Anglo-European is 8% of population, and the Creole stands at 30% of population. 


Belize is the only Central American country where English is the official language. A mixture of Creole, Spanish, Garifuna, Mandarin, and German, and both Kekchi and Mopan Mayan, are spoken throughout the country. 


There are various religions practiced in Belize. Roman Catholic is practiced by 62% of the population, while 30% of the Belizean population practices the Protestant religion, this includes Anglican, Methodists, Seventh Day Adventists, Mennonites, Nazarenes, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Pentecostal and Baptists. There are also small groups of Bahai’s and Muslims.

Government Type

Parliamentary Democracy


The economy of Belize was traditionally based on forestry, mainly the export of logwood, mahogany and chicle. The country’s economy is now based on agricultural development. But in recent years there has been resurgence in forestry. The main exports are sugar, citrus, bananas, fish products (mainly lobster), timber and garments. Dairy farming is growing in importance and the livestock industry continues to grow. Several oil companies hold exploration or prospecting licenses. With the United States as our main trading partner, agricultural products such as sugar, citrus fruits, and bananas are the main exports, though tourism and fishing are gaining in importance. The unit of currency is the Belize dollar for which the exchange rate with US dollar is fixed at USD 1 = BZD 2. 


The law of Belize is derived from English Common Law supplemented by local legislation. The court system is also similar to that in England and contract and commercial law is based on the English law model. Laws passed in Belize go through the process of first presentation to the bicameral National Assembly, composed of a House of Representatives and a Senate.  The Senate is responsible for debating and approving bills by the House of Representatives.

Currency And Banking

The local currency is the Belize dollar which is pegged to the US dollar with fixed exchange rate of BZ$2.00 = US$1 .00. 
Belize presently has four (4) commercial banks: Belize Bank Ltd., Scotia Bank (formerly Bank of Nova Scotia), Heritage Bank (formerly Alliance Bank), and Atlantic Bank Ltd. The commercial banks are regulated by the Central Bank of Belize.  Additionally there are four (4) offshore banks: Atlantic International Bank, Belize Caribbean Bank International Limited, Caye International Bank and Heritage International Bank (formerly Provident Bank and Trust). These offshore banks were authorized by the Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1995, and the introduction of the Offshore Banking Act, 1996, and the Money Laundering (Prevention) Act, 1996.


Its verdant rain forests, crystal clear waters and subtropical weather, allows Belize to welcome close to 1 million tourists visits annually, 70% them being  Americans. Belize is blessed with the second largest barrier reef in the world, three of the four atolls in the Caribbean, a large network of caves on land and in the sea, a wide variety of animals-including the endangered Jaguar, 500 species of birds, colourful flora and fauna, over 600 Maya temples, many rivers and about 200 cayes. Belize captivates a major attraction for those interested in diving, hiking, snorkelling, zip lining through the luxuriant rain forest, sports fishing and marine and archaeological studies.


Registration Department


The Merchant Ships (Registration) Act of 2010, provides the legal framework for the registration of ships and mortgages.  When registering a vessel, guidance and content on the interpretation of applicable international conventions. Rules and regulations may also be obtained in consultation with our technical staff.


The International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize (IMMARBE) works on a twenty four hour service cycle, whereby the registration staff responds to all queries for new registrations, transfers of ownership, mortgages, extensions, certificates of liens and encumbrances, and related services.  We are committed to ensuring that our Ship Owners receive immediate efficient assistance vital in the global operation of ships worldwide.  The quality of its fast and effective service makes the Belize Registry one of the leading Ship Registries in operation for more than twenty years.


All application forms for the registration of ships, manning application, mortgage applications, etc. can be downloaded from this website or can be obtained directly from IMMARBE’s Head office.


We are open to all types of vessel including bulk carrier, cargo ships, tankers, containerships, passenger ships, fishing vessels, tugs, yachts, barges, MODUs and other ocean-going vessels.


There is an age policy dependent on type and area of operation and vessels should be under 25 years of age at time of registration to obtain fast approval for registration.  Vessels exceeding the age limit may be accepted upon a satisfactory evaluation of its previous detention record, class society, ship manager, and in some cases, be subject to a General Safety Inspection to determine seaworthiness and management of the vessel.


There is no restriction in ownership as all foreign owned companies or individuals may register vessels under the Belize Flag.




All commercial vessels are required to be classed by a Recognized Survey Company/Classification Society that is recognized by the Belize Government.  (Concessions are made for yachts; contact IMMARBE Technical Department for guidance) Vessels of 7,500Gt require class by any of our recognized class societies.


Authorized List of Companies . CLICK HERE




  • Application for Registration of Vessel.
  • Details on the form provide the Administration information for the assignment of a Registration number and call letters as well as details on the ownership and appointed radio accounting entity, recognized survey company.
  • A duly notarized Bill of Sale, or a duly notarized Builder’s Certificate, if vessel is a new building;
  • An original deletion certificate or a certified copy of the extract of registry from the previous Flag Administration.
  • A duly notarized Power of Attorney favour of Shipping Agent domiciled in Belize
  • In case of a vessel which is over twenty years old, an inspection report prepared by an authorized General Safety Inspection Surveyor (GSI) stating that the vessel has passed an inspection to determine seaworthiness.
  • An original or certified copy of a tonnage certificate issued by an authorized survey company
  • Application for Minimum Safe Manning Certificate
  • ISM Code Declaration of Company, Designated Person and Company Security Officer andContinuous Synopsis Record Amendments and Index
  • Proof of Liability Insurance, including oil pollution, bunker pollution and Nairobi wreck removal insurance as applicable
  • Proof that vessel is free of recorded liens and encumbrances

Other types of Registration include:

  • Bareboat Charter Registration (Charter-in, Charter-out)
  • Special Registrations for vessels destined for scrap, or delivery voyage
  • Vessels under Construction
  • Yacht Registration
  • Fishing Vessels



A vessel registered with the Belize Registry may be mortgaged at any time during its registration by submitting the applicable Mortgage Forms.


Application for Minimum Safe Manning Certificate


As a pre-requisite the ownership title in favor of the registered Ship Owner must first be recorded on the Belize Register.