Ricardo Laviery in #Issue84: Panama Ship Registry is Committed to Further Growth
With more than 8,000 registered international vessels to date, the Panama Ship Registry is keen on achieving further growth by being the flag of choice with close ties to clients and shipowners to give the ultimate services to its fleet. Ricardo Laviery, Ambassador of Panama to the UAE, this issue’s maritime host in Robban Assafina magazine, explains how Panama Ship Registry is committed to being the world’s number one flag service provider and advisor.
Panama has established technical offices in strategic cities of strong maritime business and connections, achieving a friendlier and easier experience for clients, how is the registry best suited to be a service provider to the world?
Panama has decided to be closer to our users, owners, operators and agents, in order to satisfy their most specific needs. We have just opened an office in Hong Kong. We have positioned ourselves close to the large shipyards of Japan, Korea and China, with technical offices that can respond independently in any technical area, such as statutory certification and seafarers. The idea is that our fleet can be serviced regardless of the time zone and the place where they are operating in the globe. We have become more than a service provider; we have become advisors.
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The registry is ranked first among the 10 most important merchant fleets by flag registry and gross tonnage, why do the international market and the maritime industry continue to choose the Panama Ship Registry?
Experience. we have a human resource that other registries wish they had. We are very demanding in meeting the high standards of the industry but in cases where it is allowed, we are flexible. We are a state-owned registry which guarantees stability for banks and ship mortgages, in the same way we are financially competitive. And most importantly we are always innovating. Panama Ship Registry has an important role in the IMO regarding the discussion of all the subjects which directly affect the industry and the ship owners.
Prioritizing international compliance and commencing platform improvements, aiming at the use of new technologies, have had a positive impact on the quality of your fleet. Tell us about the technological innovation strategy that the registry is following.
Most of our certificates are electronic and the clients can apply through the E-SEGUMAR Application. We are doing important improvements in the payment made by our customers, starting with the electronic issuance of official receipts. Likewise, great innovations are made in the registration process to make it more optimal and faster. Also, we can know the location of the ships in real time through the LRIT, which allows us to carry out monitoring to help our clients in case of emergency.
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What is Panama’s role in dealing with seafarers’ retention and abandonment around the world?
Panama has been a pioneer in the repatriation of sailors in the most difficult circumstances such as the pandemic. We have an excellent relationship with the ITF and other important seafarer unions, we comply with the provisions of the ILO and the MLC convention regarding the valid financial guarantees that ships flagged by us must hold, and we participate actively in the discussions in the ILO. In this matter our compliance is very high. These financial guarantees allow seafarers to be assisted in extreme cases.
For this support we have an extensive network of embassies, consulates and technical offices around the world, who deal directly with the port authorities, operators, ship owners and agents to mediate in cases of lack of payment, ship abandonment, crew change, crew accidents or disease, or any other situation which involve the life and health of our seafarers, even in cases of full ship and crew abandonment, our Flag has a procedure which permits us to assume the repatriation costs.
How is Panama demonstrating its commitment to the environment?
We have a permanent mission at the IMO led by an ambassador, who actively participates in all the discussions that are currently taking place on the issue of decarbonization, which is the biggest challenge in the industry. We implemented all the IMO regulations in this matter and together with the classification societies approved by Panama we are collaborating with our clients so that the adaptation to this new reality is as adequate as possible.
With 8,650 registered vessels at the end of December 2022, what are Panama Registry’s expectations and plans in the coming period?
We are committed to continuing sustainable growth, prioritizing quality, attracting newly built vessels and providing better service to retain our current fleet. Strengthening our regional offices with more staff is a short-term goal. Modernizing the Panamanian ship registry, giving continuous training to our teams and being competitive in the cost-quality relationship could be said to be the primary objectives for the coming years.
How do you see the current and future markets in UAE, Arab Gulf & Middle East? How do you describe the relation with Ship owners & operators in that region, and growth projects in these markets?
Without any doubt, the future is set in this region mainly due to the prevailing security. Shipping companies and operators seek to reduce operating costs but in the same way, financial stability, a stable currency, credible banks, legal framework, investment protection and other qualities that this region possesses, provide the conditions to predict a very bright future, prosperous for the industry in the countries of the Gulf and the Middle East.
Robban Assafina Magazine, Issue 84, March/ April 2023, Maritime Host, pg. 89