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The Ship Mortgage in Panama – Registration Process

Panama remains the first merchant marine registry in the world with more than 8 thousand and more ships of different types and services. As open registry flag (be named that registry which does not maintain restrictions of nationality and in addition contains a series of fiscal and technical advantages), its success is due mostly to the legal development that throughout the years has been directed to the ship mortgage.

Registration Process

Once the shipowner obtains title of ownership on the ship, the same may be registered together with the mortgage whether in a preliminary or permanent manner at the Ship Registry.

The preliminary registration is achieved by means of submitting the required application forms, detailing the principal characteristics of the document to be registered.

The registration if made initially in a preliminary manner, may be performed through the Panamanian Consulates authorized by the Merchant Marine (Pancon) or locally in Panama. In both cases, the registration shall produce total legal effects against third parties for a period of six (6) months as of the date on which the preliminary registration was made.

Later, the title of ownership of the vessel and the ship mortgages shall be translated, notarized and filed for their permanent registration at the Ship Registry. Once registered in a permanent manner, the ship mortgage shall be effective against third parties as of the date of its preliminary registration;

By virtue of the Panamanian Merchant Marine being more competitive, Law 55 was amended under Law No. 27 of October 28, 2014 where now a ship mortgage executed abroad may be registered in a permanent manner in its original English language by means of an extract.

PATTON, MORENO & ASVAT - Key contacts Maritime Law

PANAMA: María Teresa Diaz ( | Belisario Porras (

UK: Enrique Sibauste (


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