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PUBLISHED MAY 3, 2021 5:38 PM BY PANAMA MARITIME AUTHORITY
The Panama Ship Registry, under the administration of the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP), is a government entity with more than 100 years of history and the world’s largest register since 1993.

It ended 2020, a record year, with 8,516 vessels and more than 230M gt. The Panamanian flag flies over 16 percent of the world maritime fleet in terms of gross tonnage, according to Clarksons Research.

The Panamanian Registry has 53 consular offices and 14 international technical offices (SEGUMAR) giving support to its fleet worldwide; these offices are operational 24/7.

The pandemic represented a challenge, but for the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP), it was also an opportunity for growth and modernization. The strength and strategy of the Panamanian Registry are: reengineering process, international compliance, technology and innovation, and excellent customer service.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, navigation patents and radio licenses are validated by a two-dimensional bar code that stores coded data (QR). This code gives authorities and third parties the opportunity to confirm its validity with a QR reader, easy to download from any digital device application store. All the information of the document is available in that manner, showing its authenticity.

Through the department of Segumar, the register has continued with innovation and digitalization which are fundamental for improving the operation of the Panama Ship Registry. The creation of the module for the issuance of the Declaration of Compliance with the Harmful Materials List (IHM) in electronic format, available on the «E-Segumar Application» platform, within the «Applications Forms» section, allows the user to complete their data and process their documentation securely and quickly, as of September 1, 2020.

Also, for optimizing Segumar’s work, the modules for issuing authorizations electronically were created and the new functionality of digital controls for them was incorporated. In the first month of its application, more than 1,300 authorizations were processed.

The use of these innovative techniques has allowed to have a paperless initiative, being environmentally friendly, having self-protected documents, a unique sequential number assigned and controlled only by the AMP. These actions go hand in hand with the registry’s modernization plan to provide the best service and reducing processing times.

The administration of the Panama Ship Registry has strengthened its operation in order to increase the range of application of its procedures, especially those related to due diligence and international compliance of its fleet. Thus, efforts have been directed to reinforce methodologies, acquire new tools, train personnel and create new areas, homogenizing and implementing the highest international standards that guarantee the compliance of the fleet at an international level.

Because of the pandemic, AMP issued the circular MNN-007/2020, in which point 10 indicates that remote inspections will be allowed after evaluation of the scope of the audit and on a case by case basis, since it is necessary to inspect ships and keep them in optimal seaworthy condition to safeguard human life at sea and protect of the environment.

Since the registry is focused on offering the best service and technological progress to its customers, its MMC 382 establishes new remote inspection policies for recognized organizations (ROs) and recognized security organizations (RSOs), that want to perform remote inspections on a regular basis with remote inspection techniques, after evaluation and compliance with the requirements established therein.

Panama is aware of its obligations to the international maritime industry, and adhered to Annex VI of MARPOL in 2003 that was ratified by Law 30 of March 26, 2003. The Panamanian Registry has published a series of documents on the subject in preparation for the implementation of IMO 2020. By the end of 2020, the Panamanian fleet had achieved 97 percent compliance with respect to fuel consumption data with more than 5,000 vessels reporting their fuel consumption. The AMP grants a special incentive to vessels that demonstrate an Energy Efficiency Design Index of 60 percent EDDI, or/and are propelled entirely by liquefied natural gas (LNG) as fuel; or by means of the Energy Efficiency Operational Indicator (EEOI).

An important objective for the Panamanian administration is international compliance. It has created the Control and Monitoring Department, which is responsible for ensuring that all vessels entering the Panamanian Registry and those already in its fleet, comply with international norms and standards and are not involved in illicit activities.

Likewise, the Control and Enforcement of International Measures Section has been incorporated to the Department of Resolutions and Consultations; it will follow up on international norms and measures through the verification of the official sites of the United Nations Security Council and other organizations.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) in its Performance Table of the Maritime Industry Pavilion State 2020 / 2021 has evaluated Panama as a registry that complies with 100 percent of the segments reviewed in its categorization. This represents more than five years of efforts of the Panamanian Registry to improve the performance of the ships that fly its flag, through concrete actions.

In addition, Panama has been on the White List of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for more than 10 years, with a compliance rate of 94.95 percent. In the Tokyo Memorandum of Understanding, the Panamanian Registry maintains a compliance rate of 97.43 percent, keeping its place on the White List.

With the aforementioned and other Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) to which the country is a party, Panama has an overall compliance rate of 96.99 percent, according to data from the Panama Maritime Authority, improving its average of previous years.

The Panama Ship Registry has also joined the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) and is now part of the largest group of maritime companies in the world fighting for a better and corruption-free business environment. For the AMP, it is of utmost importance to contribute to the development of best practices within its organization and helping eradicate the scourge of corruption.

The Panama Maritime Authority’s goal as the world’s largest ship registry is to continue guaranteeing the international maritime industry the compliance of its fleet, legal security and the best 24/7 service to its clients. These factors have been decisive in the shipowners’ trust and preference worldwide.

The Above Article appeared in The Maritime Executive.

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