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Focus on Panama

Panama plans changes to merchant marine law

Photo: AMP Panama Registry meeting
The Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) is working to make changes to Law 57 of 6 August 2008 General Merchant Marine, aiming at increasing the Panama Ship Registry’s competitiveness.

The AMP will later present the modifications to the National Assembly that will approve into law the adjustments to Law 57 of August 6, 2008 General Merchant Marine.

The proposal agreed upon through a working group composed of various stakeholders in the maritime sector, contemplates a new flag procedure within the framework of competitiveness, compliance and technology that facilitates the registration of the vessel.

  • It will be possible to obtain the statutory patent with a unique number directly without having to obtain a provisional navigation patent.
  • The regulatory navigation patent and the regulatory radio licence for international service vessels will not have an expiry date.
  • The possibility of entering the application for the flagging of vessels by means of an interested party with sufficient power of attorney granted by the owner of the vessel is enabled.
  • In the regulations related to the judicial sale, the additional concept of "Public Auction" is included to allow the possibility of the full cancellation of the vessel, not only in cases of sale ordered by a maritime court of justice, but also when the vessel has been sold at public auction carried out by an administrative authority.
  • The form of notification within the administrative process of the Directorate General of Merchant Marine is modified to allow in a special way notifications by e-mail, instead of an edict on the mural in the Department of Resolutions and Consultations. This adjustment within the legal framework streamlines the processes for clients and for continued compliance as a Registry. 

As part of the strengthening at international level, of legal certainty- a unique advantage of Panama, it is established that:

  • Within the change of ownership procedure, it is established the obligation of prior registration of the title deed of the seller of the vessel.
  • The legal security for mortgagees of vessels registered in Panama is reinforced, since the ex officio cancellation of the vessel will not affect the validity of the mortgage previously registered in the General Directorate of Public Registry of Ship Ownership of the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP).