Ship Arrest in the Republic of Panama and Its Harmonization with International Law
NUS - Centre for Maritime Law Working Paper 18/09
44 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2018
Date Written: September 21, 2018
Ship arrest is the most efficient and effective instrument for the enforcement of maritime claims. At the same time, arrest can be a very risky and harmful practice if it is not responsibly directed. The Republic of Panama is well-known for its long tradition in providing maritime services. Its geographical position and a world-famous canal make Panamanian waters an essential path for international navigation. As the locus of the largest ship registry of the world and the most called at ports in the Latin American region, the country has become the perfect place for the enforcement of maritime claims. In 1982 the country created a specialized maritime jurisdiction, empowered to order the arrest of vessels. Although Panama has not ratified any of the international Conventions on ship arrest, it has its own set of rules which share some the general principles in these conventions. It has created a unique system that combines aspects of the Anglo-American system with the procedural rules of a Civil Law system. This paper examines the main characteristics of the ship arrest system in Panama and compares it with the international regimes as well as with two other relevant maritime forums, the United Kingdom and Singapore.
Keywords: Ship arrest, Panama, enforcement of maritime claims, maritime jurisdiction of Panama, maritime liens, jurisdiction clauses, forum selection
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