Some of the advantages offered byPanamanian Ship Registry include:

• No tax withholding on international commercial transactions. • Tax exemption on minimum profits for vessels of less than 20 years. • Non-existence of requirements for minimum tonnage. • Simple and fast additional registration process. • Recognition of technical certificates issued by renown agencies. • No restrictions on the age of the vessel. • Private Consulates of the Merchant Marine worldwide.

In addition to the advantages offered by the Panamanian Ship Registry, ship owners must know that not only earnings from operations of Panamanian vessels are fully tax-exempted, but there are other facilities they can obtain in Panama, i.e. banking facilities, maritime financing, maritime insurance, port facilities among the most attractive.

Once you apply on a Panama ship register service, ship owners will have the advantage of tax breaks that Panamanian law offers within the Panama Maritime Authorities and legislation. This is applicable to ship owners, boat owners, yacht owners or sailboat owners.

The panama register of ships will also allow ships to operate international trade without taxation as its only territorial and will not tax the income of ships involved in international navigation or trade. The panama ship register will not discriminate the citizenship or nationality of anyone willing to register a vessel under the Panama Flag.

Once a ship owner uses the panama register of ships, it will be able to use a mechanism called dual panama ship register. This ship register method will allow a foreign ship that has a previous registration of two years in a foreign country to register in the panama ship register at the same time without a cancellation of the registration of the previous country. This panama ship register system is also possible to be applied the opposite way. This is only allowed with a certification of consent from the country that originally had the register of ship or ships.

This panama ship register dual system can be of great advantage for shipping companies, ship owners and merchant shipping companies who have no ship register under the open registry.

It is important to mention other great advantages of the panama register;

a) There is no minimum tonnage requirement for vessel registration allowing any type of vessel to use the panama register of ships.

b) The panama ship register allows the registration under a Panamanian corporation. This will give protection to the vessel and anonymous ownership. You will be able to use a bulletproof asset protection structure (corporation + foundation) to register and ensure that your vessel’s income and ownership will always be safe and anonymously protected.

c) Panama register of ships done by the use of a Panamanian Corporation will allow changing ownership with ease and will not pay taxes on the sale! This will basically be the sale, trespass of the shares and name of the corporation to a new owner and can be done in a few hours.

The panama ship register payments are estimated as follows;

For ships you pay for the bill of sale’s registration at approx $0.20 per registered ton, then an additional 20% surtax. There will be annual taxes on your tonnage. If you compare to other legislations you will notice that the panama register of ships is one “if not the” most economical in the world. Taking in consideration that the tax savings are part of the system, you will find out its way cheaper in the long term.

For yachts applying on the panama ship register with the use of a Panamanian Corporation or Company, the flat payment is as follows;

It is basically $1000 for the provisional registration, $1000 for the permanent registration with radio license and $1300 (with Panamanian Nominee Directors and their letter of share resignation) for the Company formation in order to register the vessel anonymously. If you wish to use a Foundation of personal interest as a stronger way of asset protection you add $1000 more and you will have the bulletproof structure for only $4,300 one time fee!


No. of Ships 6,184
Tonnage 114,382,270 grt
Age Limit None
Size Restrictions None
Ownership Requirements A ship need not be owned by a Panamanian corporation or individual although a legal representative in Panama must be appointed.
Documents Required

A provisional navigation licence, valid for six months, and a radio licence, valid for three months, may be issued by the Panamanian Shipping Bureau upon application specifying (inter alia) the particulars of the ship, its owner, the classification society and details of the legal representative. This will entitle the ship to fly the Panamanian flag but does not amount to registration of ownership and does not enable mortgages to be registered against the ship. The following documents are required for that:- 

  • evidence of ownership (e.g. a notarially attested bill of sale or builder's certificate (x3)); 
  • certificate of cancellation from previous registry; 
  • notarised and legalised/apostilled power of attorney appointing Panamanian legal representatives; 
  • measurement certificate issued by an approved classification society; 
  • certificate of survey for vessels over 20 years (survey to be conducted within 6 months of provisional registration); 
  • radio licence and any agreement entered into with an approved radio accounting authority; 
  • various safety certificates.

Statutory navigation licence is issued once all documents received and title deed of vessel has been registered at the Public Office Registry Office. All notarised documents can be apostilled instead of being legalised by a Panamanian Consul. Special three-month registration period available for scrapping or delivery voyages. Mortgages can be registered during this period.

Registration Fees Initial Fee:- 0 - 2,000 grt - US$500 2,001 - 5,000 grt - US$2,000 5,001 - 15,000 grt - US$3,000 15,001 grt upwards - 3,000 plus US$0.1 for each additional grt to a maximum of US$6,500
Special registration costs US$40 per nrt, minimum US$300. Annual fee:- Annual Tonnage Tax of US$0.1/nrt plus an Annual Single Rate according to the type and tonnage of the ship. Discounts on all fees where whole fleet registered together (up to 50%).
Registration period 4 years for merchant ships.
Approved Classification Societies ABS, BV, CRS, ZC, DNV, GL, HRS, YRB, KRS, LRS, NKK, PRS, RINA, RRS.
Crew Nationality There has previously been a requirement in the Panamanian Labour Code that 10% of the crew must be Panamanian but this is no longer imposed. Certificates of competency from other countries continue to be recognised although a new Panamanian certification system has been introduced
Parallel Registration Registration of a bareboat charter to a Panamanian company for not more than 2 years is permitted and is subject to an extension for subsequent periods of 2 years.
Flag of Convenience Yes
Principal IMO Conventions Adopted SOLAS, COLREG, MARPOL, INMARSAT, CLC, STCW.
Type of Mortgage The form of mortgage has to comply with and contain the information required by Chapter V, Title IV of the Second Book of the Panamanian Commercial Code and must be executed, notarised and legalised in the form recognised by Panamanian law. The mortgage must be registered at the Panamanian Public Registry.
Mortgage Registration Fee Fees according to the amount secured (up to a maximum of US$1,200) and according to the ship's nrt (up to a maximum of US$600) together with a fixed registration fee of US$750.
Useful Addresses

Directorate General of Consular& Maritime Affairs (SEGUMAR)
10th Floor
6th Avenue & West 48th Street
New York, NY 10036, USA
Tel: +1 212 8696440
Fax: +1 212 5752285
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Directorate General of Consular& Maritime Affairs (SEGUMAR)
PO Box 5245
Tel: +507 270 0333
Fax: +507 270 0996



  •  Ships over 20 years old are subject to special inspection before being issued with a certificate of registry.