The PMA is committed with the Maritime Industry and with the Seafarers. Since March, 2020 we have successfully helped to send home some 3,712 people (passengers and crew) from different nationalities and diverse kinds of ships, who were within our national waters.
We supported the change of crew through different ways, such as: Ship to ship Mode, Group Mode, Isthmic transference Mode, as well as crew disembark for repatriation through charter flights. To achieve this goal and with the endorsement of the Ministry of Health of Panama, we have developed instruction handbooks which shall be published in the institutional webpage and sent via e-mail to the Shipping Lines and other involved parties, altogether with the standardized forms.
Our valuable seafarers are essential workers, whose contribution to the world sanitary crisis has been immeasurable at keeping the supply chain working. They need to go home to guarantee their physical and psychological wellbeing and comply with the international conventions. This will promote and potentiate the lives of Panamanian Seafarers. This objective will be enforced by holding discussion panels to widen the support and coordinate the crew changes to boost the national workforce.
At the moment, the crew changes will take place only between Panamanians or between foreigners and Panamanians. Humanitarian flights will be used to take full advantage of the country´s logistic platform. These will be coordinated by the shipping lines or by the national embassies of the crew members, following the guidelines of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama.
Last March Panama established a milestone in the issue of humanitarian management, by becoming the only country to support the Zaandam and Rotterdam Cruises. From then on, we have been looking for ways to collaborate with the international maritime industry without compromising the sanitary integrity of the country.
Afterwards, the national and foreign crew members from different ships were assisted. Among the assisted ships were: Monarch (Pullman Tours), Rhapsody of The Seas (Caribbean), Carnival Imagination, Carnival Inspiration, Carnival Miracle, (Carnival Line) and Carnival Princess (Princess Cruises from Carnival Line Group); the Silver Muse and Silver Explorer Cruises, (Silversea Cruises).
These tasks have been praised by many shipping companies, such as: Silver Seas Cruises operators, the Vice President of the Royal Caribbean Company, the Mission to Seafarers, as well as by the Australian Embassy and the Mexican Embassy in Panama, among others. Due to this endeavor, the PMA was invited by the International Maritime University of Panama (UMIO) to offer a lecture in the virtual forum “New IMO’s Protocol for Crew Relay” sharing participation with the General Secretary of the IMO, Kitack Lim.
Likewise, on June 5th the PBIP Mexico Internacional A.C. Network, we will broadcast all tasks performed by the Republic of Panama at the virtual conference “Facilities for the crew change at ports during the COVID-19 pandemic circular letter IMO Nº 4204-add.18”. Important figures of the Maritime and Port Authorities of Latin America, representatives of the maritime and port sector and the seafarer’s unions, merchant marine officers and members of the PBIB Network will also attend to this event.