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Panama gets new maritime legislation

Panama gets new maritime legislation

Panama: Panama president Martin Torrijos signed into law reforms to three maritime laws ­ a maritime commercial law, a general port law on future national and international port concessions and reforms to the merchant marine. The merchant marine law will ease administrative and legal procedures and offer incentives for newbuildings and loyalty to the flag.

The legislation, which enters force after publication in the Official Gazette, grants incentives for registering newbuildings and to users that register fleets, depending of gross tonnage and type of ships. Those registering 5-15 ships will receive 20% discount in registration fees; 16-50 vessels qualify for 35% and for 51 vessels and above, a discount of 60% will be granted.

'The new legislation will improve the age of the fleet and create mechanisms that will help Panama's flag to quickly respond to eventual accidents abroad,' says Alfonso Castillero, head of merchant marine at the Panama Maritime Authority. 'It is a very modern law which fosters competitiveness and will keep us as the leader of the world's merchant fleet,' he adds.

'The implementation of the general Law of Ports is a particular important legal instrument to advance Panama as the main maritime centre of the Americas,' said Panama Maritime Authority Administrator Fernando Solorzano. The law provides a clear and efficient procedure to obtain the necessary concession or contract-law to operate ports in Panama and modernise the regulatory framework and supervision by the respective public authorities, which have competence on port activities. In addition, the law will rule the rights and obligations of all future port international concessions.

It is important to note that the new law will not affect the port concessions, which have already been granted through contract-laws signed between the Panamanian government and port operators. [07/08/08]