One of the most important bill being the revision of the Merchant Marine Law 57 of August 6, 2008, that dictates the methods and classifications of ship registration, financial incentives, vessel documents, several certifications applying to both the vessel and seafarers, and everything related to the flagging of a ship. International competition amongst registries is fierce leading to unavoidable reforms which cannot be postponed.
‘It is a positive step in the right direction,’ commented Juan David Morgan Jr, a prominent maritime lawyer.
And though the results of wide consultations called by the Panama Maritime Authority have been approved, the bill still must be presented to the National Assembly for its approval.
In the revision of the General Merchant Marine Law, law 57 of August 6, 2008, total of 188 articles were reviewed; 70 were modified; 10 were eliminated and more than 12 new articles were proposed, and all of them were approved in consensus. These amendments aim at improving the competitiveness of the Panama Ship Registry.
The project contemplates an international marketing plan, the creation of new departments, re-assignment of functions to existing departments or sections and the adoption of new technologies accompanied by the reengineering and re-orientation of the Registry. The need to revise the business model and update Law 57 to the standards and requirements of the industry, became urgent and a national dialogue was called with the main actors of the Panama’s maritime sector to modernise the merchant marine law.
However, a lawyer who attended the meetings and declined to be named, considered that the discussions involved too many people who were not experts in ship registry or were not related to the business.
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