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Panama's fleet posts record figures

Panama's fleet posts record figures

Panama: The Panama Register has reported an increase of 4.7% in its fleet size during the first six months of 2008 to 7, 965 vessels of 177.09M gt in June 2008, up from 7,605 vessels of 168m gt at December 2007, according to figures released by Lloyd's Register. "The registration of newbuildings constituted 50% of the six month increase," said Alfonso Castillero, Panama Maritime Authority director of merchant marine.

The increase in fleet size, which have helped Panama maintain its position as the world's first largest merchant fleet, have been attributed to friendly registration procedures. 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 were approved and signed into law at the beginning of August 2008.

"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,'' said Castillero. "It is a very modern law which will benefit our loyal customers and the registration of newbuildings," he added.

The merchant marine law is expected ease administrative and legal procedures and offer incentives for newbuildings and loyalty to the flag.

The legislation will grant 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.  [19/08/08]