What is a Panamanian Seaman Book and how do I get one?

Offered By General Consulate of Panama in Marseille

Let’s start at the top: What is a Seaman’s Book?

The Seaman’s Book is an official document that certifies that the person holding it is a Seaman as per The International Convention of Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) and is the standardised form to record the seaman’s certifications and career experience, through the years and ranks.

Every seafarer must carry a seaman book while on board. Also, all personnel working on board a vessel with the Panamanian Flag is required to have a Seaman Book endorsement or Temporary Certification (TC) issued by the Panamanian authorities.

Panamanian Seafarer Book

It is beneficial because it helps prove your employment history, which is needed for obtaining jobs on sea vessels, to certify identification and competence, get work promotions, and serves as relevant certification for gaining entry into the country, among other things.

The Panama Maritime Authority provides fact verifications of the validity of Panamanian documents. Moreover, we may verify whether the seafarers appear on the offenders list.

It’s worth noting: The Panamanian Seaman Book is recognised worldwide, which means it is accepted on vessels with different flags as well. This means the format is the same for all of them; what changes is the country that issues it and the requirements for obtaining one, which will differ depending on the seafarer’s capacity/rating.

Leading issuer of Seaman’s Books

Panama is the leading country in issuing Seaman’s Books, thanks in no small part to our more than 140 merchant marine consulates and offices. Here, we can assist clients and seafarers uninterruptedly and speedily in their enquiries, application and obtaining a Seaman Book.

Once a seafarer applies for a Seaman’s Book at the Consulate of Panama in Marseille, we issue the digital copy of a TC which is usually ready in less than one business day upon receipt of the required documents and fees. The CTs are valid for three months from the date of issue. Then, during the next 15 days, seafarers should receive their original Seaman Book endorsement by mail, which is valid for five years or according to the Certificate of Competency, since the date of its issuance.

Administrative conditions

Each application must comply with the administrative and technical conditions specific to the category requested.

The following conditions are common to all requests, whether for seamen or officers:

  • Completed and signed application form – please specify the name of occupied position or level
  • Photocopy of your passport
  • Medical certificate of fitness – (Regulation I / 9) issued by an approved doctor, with his/her stamp and signature (you will find the official list of approved doctors in France below)
  • Letter from the employer in English or Spanish – with the letterhead of the company, the signature of the employer and the indication of the position occupied (marine technician, marine fixed platform technician, engineer, master, chef, etc.)
  • Photo of identity – 4cm x 4cm in JPG format (see the conditions to download below)
  • The signature of the candidate – in black ink, JPG format and 3 inches x 1 inch (see the conditions to download below)

Seaman Book official prices

Ratings Panamanians in general

Endorsement of specialised courses for Panamanians

List of other courses

The technical requirements for the endorsement of the Certificate of Competence and the endorsement of courses depend on each individual application. For further visibility on all technical conditions, visit our contact page.

Documents and information


Find out more about General Consulate of Panama in Marseille. Alternatively, you can read further articles on Yacht Registration & Classification.


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