Shipping in Panama

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega

With a strong international client base that includes shipping companies, financial institutions and port operators, Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega is experienced in the full range of contentious and non-contentious shipping matters. The team has particular expertise in cross-border ship financing, refinancing and restructuring, often drawing on the full-service firm's corporate, insolvency and tax practices. It is also highly active in the registration of vessels under the Panamanian flag - particularly mobile offshore drilling units - and obtaining port operation licences. On the contentious side, the team handles cross-border shipping litigation in the Panamanian and international maritime courts, and also has arbitration expertise. Highly regarded practice head Jorge Loaiza specialises in maritime litigation, while Pilar Castillo focuses on ship financing.

Practice head(s):

Jorge Loaiza

Testimonials

‘Pilar Castillo is very efficient.’

Key clients

Seadrill Limited

Macquarie Bank

Mojasa A/S

Seajacks UK Limited

Trafigura Beheer BV – Colombia

SapuraKenkana

Grupo Mexico

Schahin Engenharia S.A.

Grupo R

Touax

ING Bank N.V.

Team Tankers International

Det Norske Veritas

Free Bulkers S.A. – Greece

Michel Else & Co.

Pacific Bulk Shipping Limited

Sino Trade International Limited – HK

Spar Shipping AS

Free Seas Inc.

Work highlights

  • Acted for Atlantic Panamax in proceedings brought against it before the First Maritime Court of Panama by DST Shipping over the arrest of the Panamanian-registered vessel DST Drammen.
  • Advised Marine Harvest (later rebranded as Mowi) on its internal restructuring.
  • Acted for HDI Global in a claim for damages against Centralamerican Cranes Corporation for breach of the transport contract pursuant to damages caused to the cargo.

Morgan & Morgan

Benefiting from 'a wealth of maritime experience in the jurisdiction', Morgan & Morgan frequently advises on the financing of newly built vessels, refinancings and registrations under the Panamanian flag. It acts for a roster of primarily international clients, especially from countries in Asia and Europe, including P&I clubs, banks, ship owners and charterers. The firm also has an active maritime litigation practice, which handles marine insurance and other disputes, with particular expertise in claims against the Panama Canal Authority. The experienced Jazmina Rovi, who focuses on ship finance and registration, and the 'outstanding and practical' Juan David Morgan Jr, who specialises in maritime litigation, lead the team. Francisco Linares and the 'very reliable' Fernando Alfaro are also key members of the dispute resolution practice.

Testimonials

‘In our experience, Morgan & Morgan provide a high-quality service in regulatory matters, thanks to their strong relationship with the authorities.’

‘Juan David Morgan and his team are excellent and my top choice of shipping lawyers in Panama. Juan David is an outstanding and practical litigator.’

‘Fernando Alfaro seems to work tirelessly and is very reliable. He also tries to understand exactly what we ask for and then provides us with the best solutions.’

‘Practical approach to cases and a wealth of maritime experience in the jurisdiction, with solid bench support in their team.’

Key clients

AES Panama S.R.L.

ABN AMRO Bank N.V.

Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation

Hyundai Merchant Marine Co., Ltd.

KN Trading Co. Ltd.

Mitsubishi Logistics Corporation

Mitsui-Soko Co. Ltd.

Panama Ports Company

SK Shipping Co. Ltd.

Spectrum Geo Inc.

Standard Chartered Bank

Tri Marine Group

Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd.

Assa Compañia de Seguros, S.A.

British Marine P&I Club

Mapfre

Melones Oil Terminal

Panama Ports Company, S.A.

The Britannia Steamship Insurance Association Ltd.

The Steamship Mutual Underwriting Association Ltd.

UK P&I Club

Tokyo Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co.

North of England P&I Club

Maersk Line

The American P&I Club

APL

CMA-CGM

World Fuel Services Corporation

Patton, Moreno & Asvat

The only Panamanian firm to have an office in London, Patton, Moreno & Asvat is able to assist a wide range of international clients, particularly financial institutions and shipping companies, from across South America, the US, Europe and Asia. The team has extensive expertise in ship financing and naval mortgages, and in corporate matters for companies involved in maritime-related transactions in Panama. María Teresa Díaz and Belisario Porras lead the department; both are highly experienced in ship registry and financing and ship mortgages. Porras also has niche expertise in advising maritime financial entities in Greece. The firm also has an active maritime litigation practice, in which Khatiya Asvat and senior associate Joaquín de Obarrio are the key contacts. London-based Enrique Sibauste is also noted.

Key clients

Watson, Farley & Williams LLP

HFW

Ince & Co

Norton Rose Fulbright

National Bank of Greece

TLT LLP

Stephenson Harwood

Allen & Overy

Davis Polk & Wardwell

Mayer Brown LLP

Pusan Pacific Law Office

Pinsent Mason LLP

Latham & Watkins

Arias B Associates

Specialist shipping firm Arias B Associates handles a high volume of ship registrations under the Panamanian flag, and also advises on the sale and purchase of vessels, ship finance transactions, and the preparation of Panamanian ship mortgages. The team, whose wide-ranging client base includes ship owners, charterers, operators and funds, is also able to handle shipping transactions in jurisdictions such as Liberia, the Marshall Islands and Madeira. Yvonne Arias, Jorge Ramirez Arias and Juan Ramon Ramirez are key members of the team, which was bolstered by the arrival of associate Margareth Mosquera from the Panama Maritime Authority to head the maritime litigation department.

De Castro & Robles

Maritime litigation is a key area of expertise for the team at De Castro & Robles, which represents owners and charterers of arrested vessels, underwriters and P&I clubs in proceedings before maritime courts in Panama. It is noted for its experience in claims against the Panama Canal Authority relating to damage to vessels and cargo and personal injury during the transit of the Panama Canal. Other areas of strength include the registration of vessels under the Panamanian flag and naval mortgages. The team includes the experienced Gabriel Ramón Sosa and Anamae del Carmen Ortiz, who is recommended for shipping litigation and arbitration.

Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee

Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee's practice spans a range of shipping and maritime transportation matters. The team advises on the construction, acquisition, registration, operation and financing of ships, drilling rigs and other vessels, and also has a strong port facilities practice, which assists with the construction and operation of port projects and handles port-related transactions. Clients include states, domestic and multinational companies, and financial institutions. The practice is led by the experienced Anibal Galindo.

Practice head(s):

Anibal Galindo

Key clients

Evergreen Marine International (Taiwan) Ltd.

Hubel Marine B.V.

Baker & McKenzie

Transocean Maritime Co.

Milbank, New York

Allens – Linklaters, Australia

Shearman & Sterling (London) LLP, London

Avila & Co

Boutique firm Avila & Co 'knows the Panama shipping market well'. The team is particularly active in non-contentious matters, including ship registration and finance and naval mortgages, but also handles litigation before Panama's maritime courts. Practice head Tomás Avila, who rejoined the firm in July 2019 after serving as Secretary General of the Panama Maritime Authority (PMA), has extensive experience in cross-border ship finance. The team was bolstered further when of counsel Jose Quintero joined from the PMA in October 2019.

Practice head(s):

Tomás Avila

Testimonials

‘This is a team that knows the Panama shipping market well and the demands of clients in this area, which they provide superb legal counsel to.’

‘Tomás Avila has in-depth experience in Panama shipping law, built up over many years of dedicated and excellent service. He inspires confidence in instructing counsels and clients. He is also very accessible and enjoyable to work with.’

Fabrega Molino

Fabrega Molino focuses on shipping finance and registration. It regularly advises on the registration and discharge of naval mortgages, the acquisition and sale of vessels, obtaining licences for fishing and other activities, and multiple flag authorisations, and also handles maritime litigation. The key contacts are highly regarded principal partner Ana Lorena Morales and senior partner Dani Kuzniecky.

Icaza, González-Ruiz & Alemán

Icaza, González-Ruiz & Alemán is experienced in the registration of vessels, both in Panama and in other jurisdictions. The team also handles the sale and purchase of ships, ship financing and mortgages, and maritime litigation. Joel Medina, who is experienced in ship finance, and shipping litigation specialist Alexis V Herrera Jr make up the team.

Tapia, Linares y Alfaro

Tapia, Linares y Alfaro advises on the sale and acquisition of vessels, the registration of ships and mortgages, and charter agreements. Maritime disputes also feature. Clients include ship owners, charterers, P&I clubs and financial institutions. Mario Correa, who focuses on ship finance and registration, and Adolfo Linares, who handles maritime litigation, are the key contacts.

Dentons Muñoz

With support from Dentons offices in numerous jurisdictions, including Singapore and the UAE, Dentons Muñoz frequently handles cross-border shipping transactions and disputes. The team has experience in ship and mortgage registration, ship finance and compliance issues, as well as vessel arrests and litigation before Panama's maritime courts. Gisela Porras, who is highly experienced in ship finance, leads the team, while Fernando Aued, who joined from Patton, Moreno & Asvat in January 2018, specialises in shipping litigation.

Practice head(s):

Gisela Porras

Quijano & Associates

Quijano & Associates specialises in maritime law, and has a sizeable client base of ship owners, vessel operators, charterers, shipping agents, financial institutions and insurance companies. The team advises on the registration of vessels under the Panamanian flag and has experience in shipping-related disputes. Carla Rojas Pardini heads the admiralty and maritime practice. Randall Webster, who often advises clients from the UK and Israel, is another key member of the team.

Practice head(s):

Carla Rojas Pardini