Panama has an open registry for vessels. This means that any individual or corporation, of any nationality or place of construction can register a vessel with a Panamanian flag. This is known as "Flag of Convenience" or "Flag of Refuge".
According to the latest data there have been 9,957 vessels with Panamanian Flags, for a grand total of 138 million tonnages.
The vessel and yacht registration procedure is quick and simple.
The commercial vessels that are going to be registered under Panamanian flag do not have to be previously inspected; they only need to have their security documents updated and the tonnage certificate issued by a certified international company.
All profits from vessel activities with a Panamanian flag are tax exempt.
Tax exemption over utilities for vessels less than 20 years old.
No minimum tonnages requirements.
The Panamanian Marine Court is one of the most recognized and efficient for the resolution of maritime conflicts. It is also characterized for providing juridical security, no matter where the vessel is at that moment. This court is open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.
Foreign vessels that are under charter contract for a maximum period of two years, can apply for the Panamanian Registry without the resignation of their current foreign register. On the other hand, the vessels with Panamanian register chartered can also apply for foreign registries, as long as the applicant’s country allows doing so.