Panama City: The Panama Ship Registry stays as the world’s largest flag with 221.44m gt in 2012, according to Lloyd’s Register figures published this week.

However, the registry showed a relatively smaller growth than the previous years, of about 6.1m gt until February 2013. Liberia, came in second with 127.12m gt, grew by 6.24m gt, while the Marshall Islands increased its tonnage by 9.75M gt to hit 85.75m get.

“It reflects our policy to continue growing steadily with quality tonnage but also shows the impact of the global economic and shipping crises,” Panama Ship Registry director Alfonso Castillero told Seatrade-Global.

“The majority of cancelled vessels [in the three largest registries] were scrapped,” he said. “The insecure shipping climate is measured by the sum of idle ships and those that went to scrap,” explained Castillero.

According to Clarksons, vessel demolition grew to 36.3m gt in 2012, up from 26.69m gt in 2011 and from 19.36m gt in 2010.

“The registration of vessels has been directly affected by the decrease of new orders in some specific markets, the low charters prices, and the demand of imports of goods from China, Africa and Europe and US respectively,” he added”

Taking up the fourth and fifth slots were two Asian registries with Hong Kong, adding 9.54m gt to reach 79.08m gt and Singapore with 61.35m gt on its book adding 7.66m gt.