A new legal regime for Maritime, River and Lake Navigation (REGINAVE) entered into force in Argentina

A new Maritime, River and Lake Navigation Regime (known as REGINAVE) was enacted by the Executive Decree No. 770/2019 on November 13th2019, and entered into force last November 22nd.

The REGINAVE is a regulatory body related to navigation matters, aimed at providing safety to individuals, vessels and the marine environment. It replaced its original version and its further amendments, after being valid for the last 47 years.

In the following paragraphs we highlight the updates with greater significance to shipowners, charterers, operators, and crewmembers.

– Increase of fine amounts: The reference values of fines are still expressed in “units of fine” (UM, Unidades de Multa), but under the new REGINAVE, each UM is worth $10 (it was worth $1.5 before). Moreover, the UM will be adjusted annually according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) determined by the Argentine National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INDEC).

Fines on forbidden hydrocarbon discharges:In cases of hydrocarbon discharges violating the REGINAVE’s provisions, three levels of fines are provided for depending on the amount of spilled oil. The minimum and maximum values of the fines range from 1,000 UM to 3,000,000 UM for charterers and shipowners, and from 100 UM to 300,000 UM for Captains.

– Sanctions on Foreign Crewmembers:The Argentine Maritime Authority (Prefectura Naval Argentina, hereinafter PNA) is now entitled to impose fines on foreign crewmembers when they are found to commit negligent actions or to be in breach of administrative navigation regulations or laws within the Argentine jurisdiction.

– Securities from foreign vessels in breach of the REGINAVE:  PNA is now entitled to request security from any foreign vessel presumably committing, within the Argentine jurisdiction, any infringement which may be sanctioned with fines. These guarantees might be personal bonds, asset-backed securities, or sureties provided by individuals or entities, domiciled in Argentina, which prove to be financially solvent at maritime authority’s discretion. These guarantors shall bear and keep the condition of joint and several debtors and principal payors of the total penalty which may result due from the administrative actions until these are completely fulfilled, or absence of liability is declared. These securities shall be rendered before –and as a condition for- the authorization of the vessel to depart from Argentine port. At the moment, it is unclear whether a Letter of Undertaking issued by a P&I Club will be considered sufficient.

– Changes in the administrative procedures: In relation to investigative process of infringements to the new regime, new procedures will be included, and these will have different approaches depending on whether they are simplified procedures or procedures requiring greater production of evidence, considering whether the misdemeanour requires simple verification or thorough investigation.

– Those with outstanding sanctions shall not be able to perform diligences or proceedings before the PNA: A new system certifying the absence of outstanding sanctions arising from infringements of the administrative regulations on navigation will be implemented, as previous and necessary requirement for undertaking any kind of diligence or proceeding before the Maritime Authority.

– Incorporation of the International Maritime Solid Bulk CargoesCode (IMSBC Code): A new chapter on Safe Practices for the Transport of Solid Bulk Cargoes was incorporated and adjusted to the standards of the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code (IMSBC Code), adopted by the International Maritime Organization, and the PNA has been appointed as the National Competent Authority.

Reciprocity with Paraguay:The navigation conditions for Paraguayan-flag vessels are also regulated in this new regime since it equates the requirements with those demanded to Argentine vessels, particularly, in those matters refereeing to the compulsion of respecting the rules of pilotage.

– Admission of digital documentation: The new regime allows the presentation of documents related to the vessel and the crewmembers in digital format, the admission of Real Electronic Records for the National Registry of Vessels; and provides for the digitalization of all kind of proceeding.


This article is meant to provide the reader with basic information on general interest issues. It is not supposed to offer comprehensive details nor legal advice. If you need assistance regarding particular events or legal matters, contact your legal counsel.