Panama Maritime Vessel Registration - Panama Offshore Legal Services

Panama Maritime Vessel Registration

Few people realize that Panama maritime vessel registration is a huge industry. Panama has registered more maritime vessels than any other country in the world. There are more than 8,200 maritime vessels registered and flying the Panama flag. Liberia is the second largest maritime vessel registering country in the world with only 2,310 vessels flying the Liberian flag. In third place is the Bahamas with only 487 registered vessels flying the Bahamas flag.

Panama’s registered vessels contain over 81 million tons or about 22% of the total tonnage in the world making Panama the largest maritime vessel registered by tonnage in the world. Since 1917, Panama has been registering maritime vessels and by 1993 became the world’s top vessel registry and has remained so ever since.

Panama Maritime Vessel Registration Advantages:

Fewer Requirements

Some countries have a minimum tonnage requirement to register vessels. Not Panama as there are no minimum tonnage requirements. Only vessels 20 years old or more are required to be inspected by an authorized Panama inspector.


Anyone or any company or corporation from anywhere in the world can own a Panama registered maritime vessel. A big benefit for a Panama maritime vessel registration is that when Panama vessels are engaged in international trade there are no income taxes to be paid to Panama because Panama has a territorial tax system in which Panama only taxes locally sourced income from within the territory of Panama.

IMPORTANT NOTE: US persons (citizens or residents) must report and pay tax on their world-wide income regardless of where they or their businesses are domiciled.

Easy Registration Transfer

Vessel owners who wish to transfer their registration from another country to Panama can do it easily. Panama does not require a new survey as long as the vessel has valid tonnage and safety certificates. This saves a lot of time and expense as a new survey would require dry docking before transferring the registration. When the vessel’s registry is transferred Panama will issue new certificates for legal entities owning the vessel.


Panama Inspections
Every maritime vessel registered in Panama which are engaged with international trade must comply with the Annual Safety Inspection Program (ASI) which is an international regulation inspecting vessels for safety compliance and preventing maritime pollution. The ASI inspection also verifies the crew’s working and living conditions are safe and hygienic. Also, Certificates of Minimum Safe Manning and Certificates of Competency complying with the STCW Convention are issued. The Panama Administration performs the survey and issues ASI and STCW certificates.

Panama Maritime Vessel Registration became easier in 2008.

Panama’s Maritime Authority (AMP) oversees Panama maritime vessel registrations. The Panama Merchant Shipping Law 57 of 2008 made it easier to register vessels and created incentives for building new ships. The law also created incentives to register entire fleets. There is a 20% discount on registration fees for fleets consisting of 5 to 15 vessels; fleets of 16 to 50 ships get a 35% discount; and a fleet of over 50 vessels will get a 60% registration fee discount. This law also made it easier for cruise ships to officiate legal onboard marriages.

Fast Panama Maritime Vessel Registration was accomplished by the AMP in 2008 when it implemented an online registration system. Now Panama maritime vessel registration can be done much faster by using a computer anywhere in the world.

Contact Us for all of your Panama Maritime Vessel Registration needs.

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