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Japan remains Panama flag's top customer, Asians account for three quarters of tonnage

Panama City: The Panama Registry now has 8,644 vessels of more than 500 dwt entered with a total gross tonnage of 202.6m up from 8,605 vessels totalling 183.5m gt as of December 2008.  The Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) says its merchant fleet represents 21.87% of the world's total fleet and Japan is its largest customer accounting for 45.4% of the total. It is followed by Korea, 7.1%, China, 6.7%, Greece, 6.4% and Taiwan, 4.3%.

"The growth in tonnage of 10.08% in the past six months was made possible by the inscription of new buildings, and by the friendly procedures we have implemented recently, also for the aggressive discounts and simplified process as per General Law of Merchant Marine No. 57 of August 06 of 2009" said Panama Maritime Authority Director of Merchant Marine Alfonso Castillero.

Despite the increased number of vessels, detentions of Panama-flagged vessels during the first six months of 2009 fell to 2.5%, down from 12.7%, said Castillero. "We hope the good trend will continue until the end of 2009 and well into 2010," he added.

Last year in August, the Panama Registry, issued a resolution requiring vessels more than 20 years old to submit to a check by a recognised inspection organisation (RO) before docking at a port within the Paris MOU. If the vessel failed to go through such an RO inspection, it could "be deleted from the registry or subject to a fine", the Authority warned at the time. In addition, any vessels of that age that have been detained twice in six months will be cancelled from the register. [12/08/09]


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