"I wish to express to Arch. Noriel Araúz my sincere thanks for the fruitful and positive cooperation that exists between the Republic of Panama and the International Maritime Organization (IMO), reinforced during these difficult times, and I also want to convey my deep condolences to all those who in his country have been affected by this unprecedented event. It is a very difficult time for all of us, we are going through pain, financial problems and great changes in our daily lives, ”said the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Kitack Lim.
These emotional words are found in a letter dated June 3rd of 2020, addressed from the General Secretariat of this Organism to the Office of the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Administrator of the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP).
The Secretary General added that in these difficult times, the availability of the maritime industry and the ability of seafarers to deliver vital goods, including medical supplies and food, is essential to respond to and eventually overcome this pandemic, therefore it is of utmost importance that the flow of trade by sea is not interrupted unnecessarily.
I wish to commend Panama's efforts to facilitate crew changes, in particular, I am grateful for the joint statement issued by Panama and Liberia on this matter and for supporting IMO Circular Letter No. 4204 / Add.14 for the "Recommended framework of protocols that guarantee safe changes in the ship's crew and travel during the COVID-19 pandemic."
The pandemic produced by COVID-19 has presented enormous challenges to the world. The media recognizes the heroic efforts made by doctors, nurses, first responders and key personnel in the face of this crisis. Less well-known is the memorable work done by seafarers around the world, many of whom have been working under tremendous physical and mental strain to keep the global supply chain from stopping in order for food, valuable medical supplies and other products to reach its destination.
Thousands of seafarers have involuntarily extended their contracts, some have been working at sea for almost fifteen (15) months without rest. This represents a potential threat to the safety of navigation and the protection of the marine environment, since fatigue is one of the most important causes for incidents to occur on board. Therefore, it is imperative that there be adequate job rotation for current and future crews.
“I urge all countries to fully comply with their obligations regarding crew changes, repatriation and access to medical care. I encourage Panama to share its best practices with other nations, to allow the transition period to run smoothly, as the world's seafarers deserve, "IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim concluded in his letter.
Jaime A. Sosa was appointed by president Laurentino Cortizo as Consul of Panama in Houston. A graduate from the University of Texas in Business Administration, Consul General Sosa has a distinguished career in marketing having working as Marketing Manager of Cerveceria Nacional, the largest brewery in Panama, as Marketing Director of Philipp Morris Company, and as Vice President for the advertising agency BBM. He has also directed his own market research and polling firm.
Consul General Sosa will be coordinating initiatives between the University of Texas and Panama. In addition, he will be promoting the Panama Ship Registry, largest in the world, and trade and investment between the two countries.
The Consulate General of Panama in Houston has been selected as the “Most Trusted Maritime Services” in the State of Texas by the prestigious magazine “International Transport News”. The consulate is one of sixty consulates across the world that provides services in support of The Panama Shipping Registry – the oldest and largest in the world. The Shipping Registry is part of The Panama Maritime Authority, an agency of the Government of Panama that last year celebrated its 100th anniversary. The consulate also hosts the registry’s Global Offshore Center. Its operations are forward in technology and designed for fast & accurate service. The consulate’s offices are located in Greenway Plaza (Houston) which is an area that hosts several shipping companies. International Transport News relies on industry experts in the government field and think-thanks around the world. They cover issues pertaining to logistics, shipping, and aviation to name a few.
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