junio 13, 2019

Panama prioritizes peace and security

Panama is proud of its history as a strong ally and committed partner of  the United States in its fight against terrorism and terrorist  financing. We were surprised and, frankly, offended by the accusations  former Florida governor Jeb Bush made in his Jan. 17 Tuesday Opinion  essay, “How to stop Panama from helping Iran skirt sanctions.”  Panama cooperates with the Treasury Department and other U.S.  authorities to ensure vessels listed in our registry are not used in  activities that threaten international peace and security.

As  the operator of one of the world’s largest merchant fleets, Panama  takes its responsibility for global maritime security seriously. Between  2019 and 2022, Panama, following due process, de-flagged 678 vessels for noncompliance with Panamanian and international regulations. We are committed to compliance with sanctions enforcement and to date have de-flagged 136 ships with ties to the National Iranian Oil Co. In fact, each of the five vessels mentioned in Mr. Bush’s essay is in the process of being de-flagged or is under investigation.

In 2019, Panama passed a resolution to allow for the immediate de-flagging of any vessel in the registry  that attempts to obscure its origins or destination. The then-U. S.  secretary of state applauded this measure, with the State Department calling it an “important step  in helping prevent terrorist groups or states that sponsor terrorism  from threatening global stability and commerce.”

Panama  carries out investigations of alleged violations in strict compliance  with international law. We conduct regular reviews to ensure that  vessels listed on our registry operate in line with International  Maritime Organization conventions.

Ramón Martínez de la GuardiaWashington

The writer is the ambassador of Panama to the United States.


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