Ship Registration: Law and Practice
Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory and the Crown is represented by the Governor and Commander in Chief. It has a population of some 29,500. As a British Overseas Territory, Gibraltar has been part of the European Union since Britain joined in 1973, although membership is subject to a number of important derogations, the most notable of which is that Gibraltar is excluded from the Common Agricultural Policy and the European VAT regime. It seems likely that Gibraltar will leave the EU simultaneously with Britain. Until then, ships registered in Gibraltar are entitled to EU cabotage privileges. While Britain retains responsibility for defence and foreign affairs, domestic affairs are regulated by the Gibraltar Parliament. Geographically, Gibraltar is a promontory 5 km long and situated close to the western entrance to the Mediterranean with Spain to the north and Morocco to the south across the Straits of Gibraltar. English remains the official language although Spanish is widely spoken. The official unit of currency is the Gibraltar pound (GB£) at par with the pound sterling though English, most other UK currency and the Euro is generally accepted.