The centennial deserves special recognition, according to Panama Maritime Authority administrator Jorge Barakat Pitty. Campaigns will be carried out at the national level so Panamanians understand the importance of the country's maritime identity on the global stage.
Panama's international registry was enacted Dec. 15, 1917, and the first vessel flagged was a freighter, Belén Quezada. In 1925, a further law established a system of incentives for shipowners such as double registration and special tax conditions for Panamanian ships engaged in international traffic.
Since then, the registry has accepted ships belonging to local and foreign owners, and ensures compliance with national and international standards related to seaworthiness, maritime safety, pollution prevention and control, certification and care of seafarers and technical, social and fiscal standards.
Panama has been the world's leading flag since 1993, currently with more than 8,000 merchant ships registered, or 18% of the global fleet. Many cruise vessels fly the Panama flag.
The Panama Maritime Authority maintains 70 offices worldwide, including a newly opened location in Miami.