Achievements of the Directorate General of Seafarers in Panama during 2019

Flags, Manning - Seafarers and Offshore, Maritime Education and Training — By on January 2, 2020 at 3:05 PM

PANAMA Seafarers Director General Capt Juan Maltez

Achievements of the Directorate General of Seafarers in Panama during 2019

For the Directorate General of Seafarers (DGGM) of the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP), 2019 has been a year of major changes that are gradually becoming a reality. This is thanks to a team involving nautical professionals with proven experience, that are coordinating actions with the local maritime guilds and universities to work as a single team to improve the conditions and to open new opportunities, thanks to the potential that Panama offers.

The following is a brief summary of the activities carried out during 2019, in each of the Departments of the Panama Seafarers Directorate.

PANAMA Seafarers Director General Capt Juan Maltez

Maritime Labour Affairs:
In compliance with the amended Maritime Labour Convention of 2006, and Panama’s Decree Law No. 8 of 26-02-1998, work inspections were carried out in coordination with the Ministry of Works (MITRADEL) on Panamanian flag vessels in our national & inland waters, to verify the conditions of life and work on board.

A total of 241 inspections were made. This surpasses the 166 inspections carried out in the same period during the previous year. A total of 33 deficiencies were found on ships sailing and working in the Panama province and 71 in other national ports.

The Seafarers Directorate is being vigilant to ensure that the rights of seafarers are complied with. There is a mechanism in place aimed at a swift and effective  resolution of any conflicts and problems of seafarers, which follows Panama’s law and guarantees due compliance with national and international regulations that protect work and social rights.

Based on the provisions of the MLC 2006 as amended, complying with their commitment  to seafarers welfare and conditions, and to  the international maritime community, all complaints submitted by seafarers are received and processed, and in the case of abandonment, they aim to provide assistance when needed.

During 2019, Panama worked on the effective repatriation of 86 crew members of different nationalities, of a total of 21 Panamanian flag vessels. This repatriation was done by the P&I Clubs, after the intervention and management of Panama’s Seafarers Department. This addresses the complaints of abandonment that are presented by seafarers to the Panama Maritime Authority and ensuring due compliance with national and international regulations that protect their work, wellbeing and social rights.

From the conference IMO 2020 in Panama City

Maritime Training:
Around 350 professionals have been trained by attending important courses and workshops carried out with the support of the Central American Commission of Maritime Transport (COCATRAM) aiming to raise their professional level to high technical and safety standards issued by  IMO, as well as benefiting personnel from the Administration, Maritime training Centres, State and private universities, National Air Service (SENAN), Panama Canal Authority (ACP) and others.

Among the courses taught were the Implementation of the Polar Code; the IMO Instructor Training Course 6.09; the IMO Model Instructor Training Course 3.12 Evaluation, Examination and Qualification of Seafarers, as well as the recent IMO 2020 Conference and its impact in Panama.

Similarly, the technical staff had the opportunity to expand their knowledge by attending important international courses, such as: Polar Water Course, held in Chile. In addition to the Seminar on Port Construction and Logistics at the Polytechnic Institute of Ningbo in the People’s Republic of China.

Control and Compliance of International Conventions:
The Republic of Panama remains in the IMO White List (Circular MSC.1 / Circ.1163 / Rev.12 of July 9, 2019), showing the signatory countries of the STCW’78 Convention, as amended. This shows a clear sign of  due compliance with the provisions of the International Conventions is being carried out, giving Panama the recognition that the personnel working on board ships have the necessary competence to perform their duties.

In addition, the signing of the renewal for three (3) years of the Memorandum of Understanding between the AMP and The Mission to Seafarers is a clear signal of the links established between both entities offering an established support framework, where  help to seafarers needs is provided, as well as encouragement and promotion of welfare services for seafarers.

Certification of Seafarers:
In order to comply with the standards established for the safety of navigation in the various fishing and tourist areas in Panama, there has been an important training exercise at national level, where  more than 5120 people working in smaller Inland vessels at national level, have been trained on maritime safety, maintenance of outboard motors, nautical terms, etc.

This training is required to apply for a national & inland waters license as sailor, 2nd class boat operator (up to 12 meters) and 2nd class fishing master (up to 12 meters), it should be noted that during this exercise, the Directorate issued over 3,200 licenses.

Quality Management Area:
Once more the Directorate General of Seafarers, and all its Regional Offices worldwide  successfully passed the External Audit  ISO 9001: 2015, and  the relevant certificate was awarded by Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance (LRQA).

International level:
Inspections have been carried out at the Maritime Training Centres recognized by the Republic of Panama, which are specialized centres for the training of seafarers who meet the parameters required by the IMO, to which Panama delegates the training maritime abroad.

In their search for employment opportunities and scholarships for Panamanian seafarers, they have made important connections with renowned shipping companies, in the Philippines and Greece, and they are in conversations that will help to sign future Cooperation Agreements.

They attended the Ministerial Conference of IMO on Safe Fishing, Legal Fishing in Torremolinos, Malaga, Spain in October 2019.

Panama was invited as a keynote speaker at the Training Seminar on the MLC2006, as amended, organized by the ITF in Bogotá, Colombia, where about 60 delegates belonging to various organizations representing seafarers, shipowners and government representatives participated.

Likewise, the commitment was made to the entry into force of Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, MARPOL 73/78, better known as IMO 2020 regulation. To achieve its compliance, they have joined forces with the Panama Canal Authority, the Panama  Chamber of Shipping (CMP), APOM ( Assoc. of Merchant Marine Officers), APADEMAR (Assoc. of Panamanian Maritime Lawyers), Universities, fuel supply companies, shipping companies and other interested parties, in order to become a team.

The above is a small sample of what the new team at the Seafarer’s Directorate has been working on since the new government took office in July 2019. They are confident that in 2020 with the links made, both nationally and internationally and the valuable contribution of the team working at the DGGM, great contributions will be made to benefit of the Panamanian seafarers and the international crews working on Panamanian vessels worldwide.


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