Vessel Registration and Liens

Vessel Registration

Over the years, De Castro & Robles has handled in 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 Consular and Shipping Affairs 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 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 in the Directorate of Maritime and Consular Affairs office, through a Panamanian attorney.

The temporary registry is provided for a period of six months, during which the required documentation for the permanent registration of the vessel must be filed with the Public Registry and the Directorate of Maritime and Consular Affairs Office. A certificate of navigation, or patents, is then issued for a period of four years, at the end of which time it must be renewed.

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 Panama’s Public Registry, 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 and deletion of the mortgage.

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 and the mortgage takes place simultaneously before a Panamanian Consul.