Rising Stars

Transport: Shipping in Panama

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega remains at the forefront of the market, fielding a strong reputation in shipping finance, both in relation to vessels and platforms registered in Panama. The team is also well versed in the registration and mortgaging of vessels under the Panamanian flag, and assists port operators with the negotiation of concessions. On the contentious side, practitioners are active in maritime disputes before local and international admiralty courts. Practice head Jorge Loaiza has extensive experience in shipping finance, which is also among Pilar Castillo‘s areas of expertise. Other noteworthy individuals include Roy Durling, who frequently advises clients in the port industry, and associate Juan Fábrega, who handles vessel financing and maritime litigation.

Morgan & Morgan

One of the first ports of call in Panama for shipping matters, Morgan & Morgan fields a broad practice that spans ship registration, finance and litigation, and which has successfully 'maintained its strong position in the market' over the years. The team, whose ‘extensive experience and expertise' in the shipping space is highlighted by clients, handles collision, cargo, pollution, personal injury and marine insurance disputes, and is particularly noted for its focus on claims against the Panama Canal Authority. Clients range from domestic and international financial institutions to ship owners, P&I clubs and port operators. Jazmina Rovi leads the ship finance and registration group, while Juan David Morgan Jr oversees the shipping and admiralty litigation department. Maritime disputes are also a core area of focus for Francisco Linares, Luis Raven and associate Diego Abadía.

Practice head(s):

Juan David Morgan Jr; Jazmina Rovi

Testimonials

‘Morgan & Morgan has maintained its strong position in the market for a very long time and has built a strong trusted relationship with its clients.’

‘Jazmina Rovi is distinguished by her ability to understand the client’s needs and provide the exact advice required. This capability I believe has been built on her hard work over a long period of time. She is prompt, exact, to the point and can be relied upon.’

‘Juan David Morgan and Diego Abadía are outstanding maritime lawyers and well respected in the Panamanian courts. They are responsive and thorough in explaining the position to clients and co-counsel abroad.’

‘Juan David Morgan in particular is a leading light of reason in counselling and litigating for clients.’

‘Morgan & Morgan are well known for their long-standing shipping practice. They have extensive experience and expertise in the field, and are always ready to assist and meet shipowners’ requirements, which can be urgent at times.’

‘The key partner we have been working with is Jazmina Rovi. She knows the industry and understands clients’ need well, and provides effective and practical solutions.’

Key clients

AES Panama

ABN AMRO Bank

Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation

HMM (formerly Hyundai Merchant Marine)

KN Trading

Mitsubishi Logistics Corporation

Mitsui-Soko

Panama Ports Company

SK Shipping

Pan Ocean

Polaris Shipping

Tri Marine Group

Tsakos Energy Navigation

Forever Oceans Corporation

Assa Compañia de Seguros

British Marine P&I Club

Mapfre

Melones Oil Terminal

The Britannia Steamship Insurance Association

The Steamship Mutual Underwriting Association

UK P&I Club

Tokyo Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance

North of England P&I Club

Maersk Line

The American P&I Club

The West of England Ship Owners Mutual Insurance Association

CMA-CGM

World Fuel Services Corporation

Korea Line Corporation

KSS Line

Patton, Moreno & Asvat

A leader in the Panamanian shipping market, Patton, Moreno & Asvat advises a wide range of financial institutions and shipping companies, with a particular emphasis on acting for international clients thanks to the firm’s presence in London. The 'reliable, courteous and efficient' team handles the purchase and sale of vessels, registration of mortgages, as well as significant restructurings and acquisitions in the maritime sector. The firm is also active in shipping litigation, where associate Joaquín De Obarrio is the key contact. María Teresa Díaz leads the practice alongside the 'always prompt, efficient and helpful' Belisario Porras, who stands out for his advice to clients in Greece and Japan. London-based Enrique Sibauste, who focuses on advising international clients, and Nadya Price, a name to note for maritime finance, are other key contacts.

Practice head(s):

María Teresa Díaz; Belisario Porras

Testimonials

‘PMA are reliable, courteous and efficient and their prices are competitive.’

‘Belisario Porras is always prompt, efficient and helpful.’

‘Enrique Sibauste and the team in London are very helpful and personable, and we have a long history of dealing with them as a firm.’

‘They make themselves available and they attend industry events and follow the issues so there is no learning curve when talking to them.’

Key clients

Watson, Farley & Williams

HFW

Ince & Co

Norton Rose Fulbright

National Bank of Greece

TLT (formerly Constant & Constant)

Stephenson Harwood

Allen & Overy

Davis Polk & Wardwell

Mayer Brown

Pusan Pacific Law Office

Pinsent Masons

Latham & Watkins

Work highlights

  • Advised JPMorgan Chase Bank, US Bank National Association and Citigroup Global Markets on Panamanian law issues relating to cruise line operator Carnival Corporation’s $1.86bn and €800m first-priority senior secured term loan facility, in addition to preparing the first fleet mortgage over 17 vessels.
  • Advised BofA Securities, as the representative of the initial purchasers, on Carnival Corporation’s $2bn issuance of senior secured notes due 2029.
  • Advised gas shipping company Navigator Holdings on its merger with the fleet and business activities of Ultragas.

Arias B Associates

Singled out for its experience in ship registration, shipping specialist Arias B Associates is also adept at assisting clients in the sale and purchase of vessels and shipping finance, often acting as Panamanian counsel to international law firms. Maritime litigation is also a notable area of expertise for the firm, which is experienced in proceedings relating to the arrest of vessels before Panama’s maritime courts. Yvonne Arias, Jorge Ramirez Arias and Juan Ramon Ramirez are the main points of contact in the team.

De Castro & Robles

Admiralty and maritime law boutique De Castro & Robles focuses on shipping disputes, representing ship owners, charterers, underwriters and P&I clubs in litigation and arbitration relating to the arrest of vessels in Panama. The team is a strong performer in cases against the Panama Canal Authority, including damages and personal injury claims. Non-contentious matters, such as the registration and mortgaging of vessels, are also handled by the team, which is under the leadership of Gabriel Ramón Sosa and Eduardo Antonio Real.

Avila & Co

The highly experienced Tomás Avila leads the practice Avila & Co, a shipping boutique which focuses on advising international clients in the maritime industry. The team handles the registration of vessels under the Panamanian flag, and is also well versed in the purchase and sale of vessels, and shipping finance, including cross-border transactions. Another key area of strength is the establishment of special purpose corporations for ship owners and financiers.

Fabrega Molino

The shipping practice at Fabrega Molino has considerable strength in the registration of vessels (including dual flag registrations) and mortgages, and demonstrated additional expertise in shipping finance transactions. The team, which stands out for its 'collaboration and diligence in dealing with issues', also advises clients on fishing licensing issues and authorisations. Practice head Ana Lorena Morales and founding partner Eduardo Molino are highlighted for their ‘high professional level, their diligence and their knowledge of the issues‘.

Practice head(s):

Ana Lorena Morales

Testimonials

‘The Fabrega Molino law firm is unique not only because of the professionalism of its team, but also because of the speed and timely response of both its partners and the lawyers and legal assistants involved.’

‘Our main relationships are with Eduardo Molino and Ana Lorena Morales – they are very professional and great human beings.’

‘An exceptionally professional office. They stand out for their collaboration and diligence in dealing with issues, with a high level of relationships at all levels that facilitate the resolution of the most complex issues.’

‘They stand out for their personalised treatment of clients and colleagues with whom they collaborate from other foreign firms. They are very friendly, while still being very professional. The lawyers go above and beyond to support you in each of your cases. Eduardo Molino and Ana Lorena Morales stand out for their high professional level, their diligence and their knowledge of the issues.’

Quijano & Associates

Quijano & Associates advises a wide range of clients, including ship owners, operators, charterers, agents, financial institutions and insurers, and stands out for the work it undertakes on behalf of members of the Panamanian merchant marine fleet. Vessels and mortgages registrations, licensing and permitting matters are all core areas of activity for the department, which is further engaged in shipping finance transactions and maritime disputes. Admiralty and maritime law practice head Carla Rojas Pardini, and Randall S. Webster, a key contact for clients from London and Israel, are the names to note.

Practice head(s):

Carla Rojas Pardini

Tapia, Linares y Alfaro

The maritime practice at Tapia, Linares y Alfaro has longstanding experience in shipping finance and disputes before Panama’s maritime courts. The firm also advises on the registration of vessels under the Panamanian flag, the registration of naval mortgages, and the sale and purchase of vessels. The highly experienced Mario Correa is the key figure in the practice.