A law enacted in 1925 gave way to the development of a Panamanian Merchant Marine fleet by removing ownership. Its benefits has made Panama one of the leading open registry country with a significant portion of the world’s gross tonnage registered under its flag.

The Republic of Panama currently has the first largest Merchant Marine fleet in the world, 8,071 vessels representing 218.5 million gross registered tons.

Panama's pre-eminent position in the global shipping industry means that most leading maritime companies have strong legal connections in Panama. Patton Moreno & Asvat maintains a solid reputation and good relations with the two government bodies involved in the registry of ships and maritime mortgages, the General Directorate of Merchant Marine (DIGEMAR) and the Public Registry Office.   In addition, we are in constant communication with Panamanian consulates and maritime offices worldwide to ensure an adequate speedy processing, registration and enrollment.

In the area of maritime law our services include:

  • Advice in the selling and purchase of ships.
  • Ship financing.
  • Composition and registration of ship mortgages.
  • Ship registration in the Republic of Panama, Belize, The Bahamas, and in the British Virgin Islands.
  • Registration of Charter Parties.
  • Navigation Patent.
  • Radio License.
  • Any certificate required for international navigation


We represent clients such as:

  • BNP Paribas S.A.
  • HSH Norbank
  • Piraeus Bank
  • Bibby Ship Management Group
  • National Bank of Greece S.A.
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Societé Genérale
  • Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank
  • Deutsche Schiffsbank Aktiengesellschaft
  • ING Bank N.V.
  • Fred Olsen & Co.
  • Credit Suisse AG
  • ASP Ship Management Group
  • Aboitiz Jebsen Ship Management AS
  • Essar Shipping
  • Norbulk Shipping UK Ltd
  • TBS Ship Management Inc.


María Teresa Díaz -
Belisario J Porras -