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USA & Panama Continue to Cooperate on International Compliance Matters

Panama Maritime Authority

Published Mar 21, 2024 11:26 AM by The Maritime Executive

[By: Panama Maritime Authority]

A few days ago, representatives of the United State's Government and the US Embassy in Panama held a work´s meeting with representatives of the Panama Maritime Authority (PMA), regarding the continued commitment from both countries in maritime affairs.

During the meeting, PMA staff explained the role of the institution, the Panama Ship Registry and the Control and Monitoring Section Department of Navigation and Maritime Safety in regards to the due diligence and continuous surveillance of vessels registered in the Panamanian merchant navy.

Mr. Abram Paley, Deputy Special Envoy for Iran matters of the government of the United States of America, expressed the importance of maintaining cooperation between the two countries in the unstable behavior
context of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He also stated that both nations have a common goal, which is why it is healthy to exchange ideas and continue together with the joint work of the last few years.

One of the topics discussed was the possibility of Panamanian flagged vessels being used to transport Iranian oil. However, confirming that to date there are no vessels of Iranian nationality owners in the Panamanian Registry, as far as we are aware. Mr. Miad Maleki, Senior Advisor to the Office of Foreign Assets Control, indicated that the reputation of the Panamanian flag is very important for the United States of America, as well as its trade and that there is full confidence in the Republic of Panama.

In the meeting, they also discussed the formality and protocol that the government of the United States of America and the Panamanian government developed in 2020 to deal with these issues, but up to today there has not been any formal communication of requests for cancellations of vessels from the Panama Ship Registry.

It is important to mention that vessel cancellations must be framed within the Panamanian legal framework, specifically by Law N°57 of 6 August 2008, as this is the regulation that governs due process.

Moreover, PMA staff presented the statistics of the 863 vessels cancelled from 2019-present, of which 706 have been cancelled ex officio, while the other 157 have been cancelled by annulment and judicial sales. The statistics of the Panamanian flag vessels listed by the Office of Assets Control (OFAC) and the
consequent cancellation process of the Registry.

Evidence shows that out of the 41 ships listed in OFAC, 24 have already been cancelled from the Register, and the information on its web page has been requested to be updated by means of formal notes in the months of April and June 2023.; 6 more have also been cancelled, and the remaining 11 ships are in the process of cancellation. Once these actions are completed, the total of 41 ships listed in OFAC will have been cancelled, asmformally communicated.

Another point discussed was the importance of Panama being notified in advance about whether the vessels will be listed or sanctioned, just as other registries are informed, which would help to avoid a change of registry during the formalization of the listing and sanctioning process.

During the visit, the US delegation had the opportunity to visit the Panamanian Fleet Control and Monitoring Centre and observe its functionality. At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that the established protocol for the exchange of information and requests between governments will continue, as well as the possibility of signing a bilateral cooperation agreement, which will continue to institutionalize these efforts in the future administrations of both countries.

Mr. Paley concluded the meeting expressing his certainty that the Panamanian State is focused on its responsibilities as a responsible Register of Ships and an important strategic partner in international maritime trade. The representatives of both governments have pledged to continue working hand by hand for a responsible maritime industry.

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