The Panama Maritime Authority (AMP), the entity in charge of managing the Panamanian Ship Registry, comes out after recent publications that refer to an opinion article published on January 16, 2023, on The Washington Post website. titled “How the United States can prevent Panama from helping Iran avoid oil sanctions” written by Jeb Bush, member of the United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) Advisory Council.
The AMP acts as the governing body for the exercise of the rights and the fulfillment of the responsibilities of the Panamanian State, within the framework of the current regulations and as a result of this commitment, 678 Panamanian-flagged ships of owners of different nationalities have been canceled, understanding that the economic groups that own these vessels are not necessarily Panamanian nationals and are companies that operate within renowned and important economic groups in international maritime trade. These cancellations developed as follows: 120 for 2019, 86 for 2020, 237 for 2021 and 235 for 2022.
Regarding the cancellation of the aforementioned vessels, it is important to emphasize that the Panamanian government is committed to complying with the sanctions regime and in fact these cancellations are due to measures against the Financing of Terrorism and measures to eliminate Illegal Fishing, Unreported and Unregulated.
It is important to emphasize that the Panamanian authorities maintain a close relationship with the Secretary of the Treasury and other authorities of the United States where we have established follow-up and mechanisms related to this issue and the possible links of tankers with the transport of products that could be linked financing of terrorist groups. The Panamanian registry canceled 136 ships in which their direct link with the National Iranian Oil Company was proven.
In addition, as part of our alliance, on August 14, 2019, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) known as the "Registry Information Sharing Compact (RISC)" was signed between Liberia, the Marshall Islands, Belize, Palau, Honduras, St. Kitts & Nevis, Comoros, Vanuatu, Cook Island, Commonwealth of Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Republic of Moldova and the Panama Maritime Authority, and in which it was agreed between the parties that when a Flag Registry cancels or initiates a sanction process, or cancel, or deny the registration of a vessel due to a sanctionable activity, such registry will immediately notify the other members of the details of said vessel and the description of the sanctionable activity precisely in order to avoid hiding the identity of the vessels , companies or economic groups that have behaviors detached from the interests of the international maritime community.
As a consequence of the signing of this Memorandum and its implementation by the Panamanian registry, Resolution No. 48 of August 19, 2019 was issued, which establishes the sanction of all those vessels in the Panama Registry that deliberately deactivate the Long-Range Vessel Identification and Tracking System (LRIT) and/or the Automatic Identification System (AIS) equipment, product and as a result of these actions, the Secretary of State of the United States of America, through a note with dated September 5, 2019, extended congratulations to the Government of Panama and recognized the important efforts and achievements of our country regarding discouraging activities that threaten the security of the international maritime community.
On the other hand, and with respect to the ships that the author of the aforementioned article refers to, it is important to point out that investigations are carried out regarding compliance with the conventions ratified by the IMO, history of owners, economic groups and due diligence under our established standards and taking into account and considering the instructions issued through the expert panels. Those vessels that are found to be in breach of national regulations are subject to administrative and economic sanctions, even the cancellation of the registration.
With respect to the Glory Harvest ship with IMO number: 9143506 after having concluded the investigations, the ship is in the process of cancellation based on article 49 of Law 57 of August 2008, with the rest of the ships it has not been received a formal request for cancellation, but internal investigations and follow-up on each of them continue.
This Administration has fully complied at all times with the obligations and procedures as a Flag State and we have always initiated the investigation of the facts as soon as we received the information of alleged violations, respecting due process and the constitutional guarantees of the Republic of Panama.
For all of the above, taking into consideration the high degree of commitment that the Panamanian Maritime Administration has to continue the collaboration and hard work with the maritime community, we reject any involvement of the Republic of Panama in activities that facilitate non-compliance.