Shipping in Panama
Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega fields one of the leading shipping practices in the country, demonstrating extensive expertise in advising international financial institutions, ship owners and port operators. The team handles both non-contentious and contentious work, including ship financing, vessel registration and litigation arising from maritime disputes. Practice head Jorge Loaiza, with key support from the highly-regarded Pilar Castillo, recently acted as counsel to a number of banks in relation to a significant cross-border restructuring of shipping debt. On the contentious side, the team also successfully represented defendant Atlantic Panamax before the First Maritime Court of Panama in connection with a flag arrest. Grupo Mexico, Seajacks UK and Trafigura Beheer are some of firm's key clients.
Morgan & Morgan is a leader in the registration of Panama flag vessels and well-reputed across the full array of sector-related services. Maritime dispute resolution related to collisions, cargo, oil spills, personal injury and mortgage executions is a key area of expertise for the team, which often presents claims before the Panama Canal Authority. P&I clubs, banks, ship owners and charterers make up the practice's client portfolio, with heavyweights Caterpillar Financial Services, Hyundai Merchant Marine and Mitsubishi Logistics standing out on the list. The new Chair of the Board of Directors of Panamanian Maritime Law Association (APADEMAR), Jazmina Rovi heads the shipping and finance registration group, while Juan David Morgan Jr is in charge of all litigious matters. Francisco Linares is another recommended practitioner.
The well-established shipping practice at Patton, Moreno & Asvat provides advice on the registration of vessels and naval mortgages, sale and purchase of ships and administrative matters. The firm works closely with its network of offices in other countries, providing 'a seamless service for ship and security registration in Panama'. Maria Teresa Diaz and Belisario Porras, who 'respond to queries and requests quickly and knowledgeably', co-lead a practice group that is commended for its 'efficient and professional' advice on the 'documentation of vessels and ship mortgages'. On the contentious side, the team also undertakes litigious work related to the arrest of ships, cargo, damages and insurance claims. Clients include leading financial institutions and shipping companies such as the Royal Bank of Scotland, Credit Suisse and Norbulk Shipping. London-based partner Enrique Sibauste is recommended for his 'attentive service', with additional backing from Nadya Price in Panama.
The maritime and ports facilities' team at Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee regularly assists leading multinationals, domestic companies and financial institutions in a wide range of transactions and admiralty matters related to the construction, acquisition, financing and registration of vessels, naval mortgages and public bids. Anibal Galindo directs a department that is instructed by heavyweights such as Evergreen Marine International, Minsheng Bank, Citibank and Aegean Marine.
Arias B Associates
Under the joint leadership of Yvonne Arias, Jorge Ramirez Arias and Juan Ramon Ramirez, the maritime practice at Arias B Associates is regularly instructed by international law firms as well as shipping companies, charterers, banks and leasing companies for a variety of contentious and non-contentious matters, such as the registration of vessels, obtaining of licenses, financing transactions and bankruptcy proceedings. Standout work includes advising CSIC Leasing and China Shipbuilding Industry in the sale, lease-back and registration of two offshore units under Panamanian flag. In on-going mandates, the eight-strong team is currently working on the financing of five vessels to be owned by Hyundai Merchant Marine and registered under national flag. Mitsubishi Logistics and Mitsui Soko are among the firm's longstanding clients.
De Castro & Robles
De Castro & Robles' admiralty and maritime law practice is praised for the comprehensive services it offers shipowners, P&I clubs, underwriters and agents. The team excels at representing local and international clients before Panama's Maritime Courts and Arbitration Tribunals in relation to claims for damage to vessels, cargo and passengers, as well as vessel arrests. Non-contentious issues include the registration of ships under Panamanian flag and naval mortgages. Active practitoiners Gabriel Ramón Sosa, Alberto Lopez Tom and Maria Lourdes Galan Diaz are the names to note. Clients include Maersk, Evergreen and Mediterranean Shipping Company.
Fabrega Molino's shipping practice is best known for its vessel registry and finance expertise. Ana Lorena Morales heads the team with key support -following the firm's recent merger with Kuzniecky & Co.- coming from senior partner Dani Kuzniecky. The department demonstrates notable experience advising on vessel and naval mortgage registrations, maritime financing transactions, the obtaining of licenses and multiple flag authorisations.
Icaza, González-Ruiz & Alemán
The maritime and admiralty team at Icaza, González-Ruiz & Alemán receives instructions from a domestic and internationally-based client base regarding a wide variety of sector-related issues. The six-strong practice advises on transactional matters, such as the purchase and sale of vessels, subsequent registration and shipping finance; the team also assists clients in relation to port and maritime concession agreements and on a full range of litigious matters, including the seizure of ships, chartering and collisions. Team head Joel Medina is the key contact.
Tapia, Linares y Alfaro
Tapia, Linares y Alfaro fields a maritime practice with a wealth of experience in providing legal services to ship-owners, charterers, P&I clubs and credit and financial institutions. The team assists clients with naval mortgages, the acquisition and sale of ships, and charter agreements, as well as registration of vessels under Panamanian law. Founding partner Eloy Alfaro de Alba, along with Mario Correa (who has expertise in ship registration and financing) and Adolfo Linares (in charge of litigation) constitute the core team.
Avila & Co
Shipping and admiralty law boutique Avila & Co is noted for its advice to financial institutions, vessel operators, owners and insurers regarding both maritime disputes and non-contentious matters. Co-led by associates Marielena González Peña and Angie Mei Sánchez, the practice's service offering includes assistance with vessel registration, acquisitions and sales, and ship financing; the team also represents clients in connection with ship arrests and litigious matters. Shipping expert Tomás Avila Manzanares recently returned to the office having been Secretary General of the Panama Maritime Authority from mid-2014 until June 2019.