Vessel Registry


DESCRIPTION: Any foreign or Panamanian national may register a vessel in the Panamanian Merchant Marine. International service vessels are exempt from Panama income tax. Shipowners take advantage of the flexibility of Panamanian offshore corporations by having such entity appear as owner of the vessel. Any ship may be registered provided it complies with the minimum seaworthiness, safety and environmental conditions required by international conventions. However, ships over 20 years old are subject to a special inspection before being granted a statutory certificate of registry.

FORMS: Click Here to visit downloadable forms related to registering or renewing a registration.

The ship registration procedure is initiated by applying through the Panama office or the Panama Merchant Marine General Consulates, paying the corresponding fees and submitting the following documents:

+ Applications for navigation and radio licenses + Power of attorney + Bill of Sale (and builder's certificate for newbuildings) and Acceptance of Sale + Official certificate of cancellation from the current registry stating that the vessel is free of all liens.

Vessels under construction may also apply for the Provisional Registration and radio call letters.The maritime office will issue the Provisional Navigation License, valid for 6 months, and a non-renewable Provisional Radio License for 3 months. The Provisional Navigation License may be renewed for additional 3 month periods upon payment of a penalty. The Definitive Radio License must be obtained before these 3 months or a fine is imposed.

The previously mentioned ship documents, apostilled or authenticated by a Panamanian Consul, must be recorded at the Public Registry by a Panamanian attorney-at-law, so that a renewable, 4-year, Definitive Navigation License may be issued by the Directorate in Panama.

Mortgages and title deeds may be preliminarily registered by the Public Registry Office and the Directorate anytime in a period that averages 8 hours. Panamanian mortgages and titles are widely recognized and accepted as enforceable by U.S., Far East and European finance institutions.

All vessels are subject to an Annual Safety Inspection ( ASI ) conducted by the Department of Maritime Safety of SEGUMAR