About Us

The Republic of Panama, given its strategic geographical position and the existence of the Panama Canal, has become a pillar of the maritime trade among the nations of the world.


One of its most important achievements for the National Merchant Marine is not only being the largest open world registry of ships, but having maintained this position since 1993.


The Panama Registry is in charge of managing the world´s largest ship registry, with over 8,000 registered vessels which accounts for 222.1  GRT, representing 18% of the world fleet. This Administration is permanently committed to safety of human life at sea, prevention of the pollution of the marine environment and navigation security.


The Panamanian Registry has its origins in the year 1917, Law 63 of 15 December, 1917, with the approval of Law 8, which establishes the procedures for the nationalization of ships tonnage. Later in 1925, through Law 8 of 1925 the Panamanian Merchant Marine was created and restrictions regarding nationality and residence of ship owners were eliminated, thus adopting an open registry system.


Since then, the Panamanian ship’s registry accepts ships that belong to nationals and foreigners, under the condition of compliance of the domestic and international standards relating to navigability, maritime safety, prevention and control of pollution, manning, certification and watchkeeping of seafarers, technical social standards and tax matters.


Later through Law 2 of 17 January, 1980 the Directorate General of Merchant Marine was created ascribed to the Ministry of Finance and Treasury (currently Ministry of Economics and Finances). This regulation assigned functions to this General Directorate and established all dispositions regarding the registry of the Panamanian Merchant Marine vessels.


The General Law of Merchant Marine is the No.57 of 6 August, 2008 establishes a set of discounts that can be granted to vessels that are newly built, vessels registered in the Merchant Marine within five years from the date of the laying down of the keel, any MODUs ships which can show that they have been registered in the Merchant Marine and who re-apply for registration no later than two years after this law comes into effect. These incentives are also directed to vessels that have not been detained for any Port State Control inspection within a twenty-four month period, vessels belonging to economic groups, among other features.


There are four important keys in our business to wit, Safety and Prevention and in that sense, we are strongly committed safety of human life, pollution prevention and navigation safety, ensuring strict compliance with all international regulations and conventions of the IMO, not only as legal and mandatory instruments but more importantly, in everyday practice. Sustainability is crucial in the maritime industry and this is the reason the Panamanian Ship Registry promotes and recognizes, through attractive incentives, the efforts of shipowners and shipbuilders that invest in technology and resources to reduce pollution while proving their conditions as Green and Eco ships. The Commercial aspect of this business is also developed by Panama through a multiple discount scheme which offers competitive fees and exemptions.


The Panamanian Ship Registry counts with a working network of more than 64 maritime privative consulates and 9 SEGUMAR technical offices worldwide operating 24/7. Widely known Ship Mortgages that provides confidence for various bank transactions and full support from the National government.


We are constantly innovating processes of Registration, making them automated and simple, integrating two processes into one, with a maximum registration time of four hours, always ensuring quality, and promptness to customers. For many years now, Panama has been a leader of the ship mortgage registration, granting this Registry, the trust of the international finance community.


This Directorate General is endowed with great importance within the Panamanian Public Administration, given that it regulates the activities related to ships registrations, both nationally and internationally.