Vessel Registration

Vessel Registration (Flagging)

Over the years, De Castro & Robles has handled the registration of vessels under the Panamanian flag. The services provided by the Firm include acting as resident agent for the vessel, handling of the required documentation, payment of registration and annual dues and representation before the Directorate of the Panama Maritime Authority for any administrative matter that may arise.

Since 1925 Panama’s Open Registry has benefited the international maritime community. A vessel owner is not required to be a Panamanian citizen or a Panamanian corporation in order to register a vessel under the Panamanian flag. Furthermore, the fiscal laws are territorial in nature, hence the income generated by the commercial operation of vessels outside of Panama is not subject to taxes in Panama.

Vessels may be provisionally registered either through Panamanian Consuls, which are located in the principal maritime centers of the world, or locally before the Directorates of Merchant Marine and Public Registry of the Panama Maritime Authority, through a Panamanian attorney.

The provisional registry is granted for a period of six months, during which the required documentation for the permanent registration of the vessel must be filed with the Directorates of Public Registry and Merchant Marine. A navigation license, or patent, is then issued for a period of five years, at the end of which time it must be renewed.

The Panamanian Registry also offers the possibility of dual registration allowing the bareboat charterer of a vessel to register her in Panama without deleting same from her principal registry. The charterer must charter the vessel for a period of two years, and obtain authorization from the vessel owner and the authorities of the place of registry.

There are several incentives and discounts provided by the Panamanian Registry for new construction vessels or ships registered in Panama for the first time.

Mortgaging Vessels

Our firm provides all services required for the registration of naval mortgages in the Panama Maritime Authority’s Public Registry of Vessels’ Titles and Liens, including drafting of contracts, preparation of the mortgagee instrument, reviewing the documents to ensure compliance with all formalities required by Panamanian law, translation of documents, and registration of the deed. Moreover, we assist in the deletion of mortgages.

Panama provides an efficient system of registration of naval mortgages. A prerequisite of registering a mortgage is to register the vessel, at least preliminarily, under the Panamanian flag. Generally, the preliminary registration of both the vessel’s title and the mortgage take place simultaneously.

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