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Tuesday, October 16, 2018


INTERTANKO MD, Peter Swift, joined other international shipowner associations’ representatives on a panel discussion of users’ expectations of flag states at the Panama Maritime VI Conference in Panama City this week.

Addressing “What do users of Panama expect of their flag state”, he called on the administration to demonstrate leadership and accountability, and to play their part in the “Chain of Responsibility”. Recognising Panama’s position as the largest register in tonnage terms, both for tankers and all ship types, he suggested a seven-point checklist for responsible flag states: Competent Administration, Commitment, Consistent, Corruption-free, Competitive, Capital-friendly and Casualty Investigations.

In his talk he advocated early ratification of MARPOL Annex VI in order to reduce the potential for unilateral measures to limit air pollution and to safeguard investments already made by owners. Further he urged Panama to ratify the IMO HNS Liability and Compensation 1996, the Bunker Oil Pollution Liability 2001, the Oil Pollution Preparedness Response and Cooperation 1990, and the Salvage 1989 Conventions. Similar calls were made by several other speakers and associations during the conference. He also stressed the importance and obligations of flag states conducting comprehensive casualty investigations and described Panama’s historical record as lamentable, a sentiment echoed to varying degrees by other participants.

A copy of the outline text of his comments and his presentation is available on INTERTANKO’s web

The Conference also heard many speakers applaud the Panama Canal Authority for its continuing good management of the Canal and its responsiveness to users’ concerns.

Based on the comments and opinions expressed during the 3-day meeting, the Maritime Authorities announced a series of recommendations that were being made to the Panamanian government. These include:

The establishment of a Panamanian Shipowners’ Union The assembly of a senior technical team to undertake accident investigations A new transparency law to increase trust and confidence

Extra incentives to encourage ship registration.

There was also a widely supported call for additional funding for the PMA to operate the register in the manner being advocated by users.