Panama's shipping registry grew 9.1 percent during 1999 to close the year with a fleet of 9,866 vessels, the National Maritime Authority (NMA) said. Of the 826 ships added to Panama's open register last year, 323 were newly constructed, including 176 cargo vessels and 81 tankers. The remainder included passenger ships, fishing vessels
, dredgers and tugs, the NMA said in a press release. Registered gross tonnage rose by 15.9 million tons to 126.9 million tons in 1999, an increase of 14.3 percent over the year before.