The Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) through the Directorate General of Merchant Marine (DG GM) that oversees the Ship Registry, has introduced measures for strengthening the flag inspection program, with emphasis on vessels calling at US ports eligible for a US Coast Guard's Port State Inspection (PSC), and improving control and compliance rate of the fleet. The measures will ensure compliance with safety, security, and environmental standards by encouraging and promoting a better maritime industry. In addition, the Registry is increasing monitoring of vessels with deficiencies and detentions through the regional Port State Control regimes. A series of actions aim at making the Panamanian fleet part of the US Coast Guard's QUALSHIP 21 program, where, at the end of July, the Registry has an average compliance rate of 98.97% for the last 3 years, among which the following stand out:
·A flag inspection mechanism for vessels arriving at U.S. ports, based on risk factor.
·Merchant Marine Notice – MMN-08/2022, which informs that, as of August 1, 2022, a special flag inspection program will be initiated for vessels arriving at US ports whose history makes them candidates for a Port State Inspection (PSC) by the USCG.
·Merchant Marine Circular – MMC 381, which implements the pre-arrival checklist for Panama-flagged vessels arriving at US ports to help shipowners, operators, technical managers, designated persons ashore (DPA) and the Master of the vessel to find weak elements that may be grounds for detention through PSC inspections by the US Coast Guard.
·Merchant Marine Notice MMN-14/2021, which informs that all Panama-flagged vessels transiting or visiting Panamanian ports prior to arrival in the United States may be subject to a special Security Screening Inspection (SSA), to avoid possible detention in the aforementioned region.
In addition, the AMP has reinforced some mechanisms to improve the fleet performance in the different regions supervised by the Port State control:
·Directorate General of Merchant Marine Resolution No.106-183 of August 03, 2020, which strengthen measures that will detect and act against vessels detained multiple times, so that they for improving their conditions, performance and mitigate the recurrence of detentions, and impose sanctions to Recognized Organizations (RO) and / or ships, who ich have shown serious faults affecting the image of the Panamanian registry.
·Merchant Marine Circular MMC-393: Pre-arrival checklist for Australian ports, to assist ship owners, operators, technical managers, designated persons ashore (DPA) and masters of vessels, in finding weak elements that may result in detention, through Port State Control Inspections by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
·Merchant Marine Notice MMN-13/2021 Annual Flag Safety Inspection for Priority 1 vessels in Paris inspection and screening scheme for Paris MOUs arriving at any port in Italy.
·Merchant Marine Notice MMN-02/2022 – Flag Safety Inspection for vessels operating in Paris MoU; it is established that all Panama-flagged vessels over 20 years of age arriving at any port of the signatory countries of this MoU, will be subject to a flag safety inspection (ASI) every six (6) months.
Currently, the Panamanian fleet performance is 96% which should improve with the implementation of these actions expected to reduce detentions and optimize the Registry performance in the various MoUs to which Panama is a party.
Source: Panama Ship Registry
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Xinde Marine News.