The procedure to register a ship under the flag of Panama
With more than 8,000 registered international shipping vessels, the Panama Ship Register is the world's first registry.

The procedure to register ships with the Panamanian flag is very simple and expeditious. The request for provisional registration can be made through the Consulate General of Panama in Marseille. All the required information have to be presented and the payment of the corresponding fee done.

We must clarify that at the Consulate General of Panama in Marseille, we do not request any Administrative Costs neither Consular Fees nor the payment to third parties. Our customers pay only the amount stated in official account statement provided directly by the Panama Maritime Authority, what guaranty the security and transparency.

Once all the documents have been received and the rights have been paid, a provisional patent will be issued, the duration of which is six months and a provisional radio license is three months. The whole procedure takes about 6 hours.

The Regulatory Patent and Radio Regulatory License are issued only in Panama. Its term is four years and is granted after all documents have been presented and delivered by a law firm, designated as resident agent. It is also required that the title of the vessel has been duly registered in the Public Registry. The radio license is issued when the interested party submits the duly completed request of the communication equipment that the ship is going to have on board, in compliance with the GMDSS.

mortgage registration

Required documents
  • Power granted to the lawyer by the owner of the vessel. Must be authenticated, legalized and enabled
  • Title of ownership of the vessel duly registered in the Public Registry
  • That the ship is “paz y salvo” with its tax payments
  • Certificate of tonnage issued by an authority recognized by Panama
  • Original Bill of Sale Certificate, Deed of Title
  • Certificate of cancellation of previous registration
  • Certificate of construction (if new construction)
  • Technical certificates pertaining to the ship in accordance with international conventions
  • Request for a Radio License
Mortgage Registration

The Consulate is entitled to register in preliminary form a naval mortgage against a Panamanian vessel. Mortgages are bilateral contracts between the mortgagor (shipowner) and the mortgagee (lender). The Consul shall legalize the signature of both parties. The procedure is straightforward and is usually completed within the same day.

The shipowner can be assured of the acceptance by the United States, Far Eastern and European banks of the Panamanian mortgage, providing satisfactory security. Hence the Panamanian Ship Mortgage, once registered, grants a right to the mortgagee against the vessel. The encumbrance follows the ship even when sold. The mortgagee thus has a right to pursue, attach or have the ship sold in order to collect his credit, with preference over creditors of less standing. In the Panamanian Maritime Legislation, this document is a privileged maritime credit, therefore, it charges with preference over other creditors.

Bareboat Charter Registration (Dual Registry)

Under bareboat charter, a shipowner leases a ship to an operator – the charterer – which becomes responsible for the operation of the vessel. According to Panamanian Law, which allows Dual Registry, that vessel, already registered in Panama, may be registered under the flag of another state for the duration of the charter (up to two years, renewable).

The dual registry system allows a charterer, leasing a ship registered in a country without an open registry, to benefit from the advantages of the Panamanian Registry. It also allows the shipowner to maintain the original registration, which is merely suspended during the dual registration but regains its effectiveness upon termination of the charter.

The authorization of the original flagging state, as well as the shipowner's, is necessary. The Consulate is allowed to handle the required procedure. This procedure may be done in one day.

Name Registration

It is possible to reserve in advance the name of a vessel in construction, or scheduled for construction, provided this name is available, upon payment of a nominal fee of US$40.00 per month.


Special Provisional Registration

Vessels of international service destined for scrap, delivery voyages or any other mode of temporary navigation may apply for a Provisional Patente and a Radio Permit both of which are valid for three months.


Registering a ship name

Ships in construction

Temporary registration of ships under construction is permitted upon request by interested parties. The patent number and radio letters are granted. Only the registration fee is paid until the ship is able to sail, at that time the rest of the taxes must be canceled and the respective documents issued.

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