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Interview on shipping and maritime law in Panama

calendar 10/5/2020 8:00:00 AM
author Moises Shipping


In 2019, more than 9000 ships were registered in Panama, followed by Singapore with less than 5000. Why these numbers and why is the difference so big? It is clear that many sailors and lovers of the ocean prefer Panama for registering their vessels. In Mundo we wanted to know why and that is why we invited our expert in shipping and maritime law in Panama. Today, we tell you what Ivan has shared with us during our conversation where we have learned about the advantages of Panama for ship registering, the high security standards of this country and also some very useful info on the registering process.

-Ivan, can you tell us about your experience with shipping in Panama?

I have 31 years’ experience on the shipping business, I also have 16 years of preparing students in the maritime industry, I am a professor of Maritime Law, International Maritime Law and other subjects related to the maritime business.

-Can you please tell us about ship flagging in Panama?

The Panama Ship Registry is the world’s leader in number of vessels and tonnage, is also a leader in environmental safety and labor conventions. Panama was included as the Category A-member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for the past ten years as well as one of the registries also is included in the most important world maritime Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs)’ White Lists.

-Is it possible to change the nationality for the ships?

The transfer of registration (nationality)is very easy, transferring a vessel to Panama’s Registry does not require a re-survey or safety inspection if the vessel possesses valid safety certificates. Prior tonnage certificates are accepted so the vessel does not have to be dry docked at a considerable expense. All major Class Societies IACS members’ surveys and Recognized organizations are accepted by Panama.

-What are the regulations for foreign ships that spend more time inside Panama?

Absence of restrictions regarding nationality, which means that any person or company is able to register a vessel under the Panamanian Flag. Any vessel under the Panamanian flag regardless of the nationality of the shipowner has no restrictions as long as they comply with all regulations and IMO conventions.

-What are the types of ships allowed in Panama and under what requirements?

There are no minimum tonnage requirements to register under the Panama flag. Small boats and yachts can carry the Panamanian flag. Vessels over 20 years old are required to be inspected by an official Panama inspector to become registered.

-What marines are available in Panama for ships?

Any nationality of sailors can work on Panamanian registered vessels; however, they have to comply with all the seafarers titling regulations.

-Why is Panama a good destination for those who love the ocean and dream of having their own boat or ship?

Panama is the most widely chosen jurisdiction for yacht and boats in the world. The Panama Ship Registry offers flexible requirements and fees for those yachts registered under the flag.

The principal advantages are:

  • A flat registration fee, regardless of size or tonnage of the yacht.
  • No surveys and technical certificates are required to be presented for a pleasure yacht.
  • The Registration Certificate is issued for a two-year period, which is renewable thereafter.
  • The Provisional Registration may be obtained on the same day after the application. Once the Provisional Registration is obtained, there is a term of 6 months to present all the original documents in order to obtain the Permanent Registration.

For more information and statistics about the shipping sector in Panama and marinas, please visit our country focus.

If you want a consultation with our expert or with any of our experts in banking, corporate and foundation services in Panama, please contact us.

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