Seafarers docked by pandemic land in Panama

Editorial Dept. Voz de la Diaspora

The story of a group of seafarers who were unable to disembark due to the emergency measures decreed in Panama by the COVID-19 outbreak began in early April..

Two fishing vessels, that are part of a purchase sale in which Panama was designated as the delivery port and the place where its crews would be exchanged, were stranded in the middle of the sea due to the pandemic.

Upon arrival of ships to Panama, a State of National Emergency had already been decreed, as well as the respective quarantine with very precise measurements, including the suspension of landings throughout the national territory, contemplated in Executive Decree No. 305 of the 12 March 2020.

Having seen the above, in order to assist ships and facilitate the change of crews, the Moscoso law firm & Partners requested authorization from the Ministry of Health (MINSA) to proceed with the disembarkation and embarkation of the crews.

For it, This law firm coordinated with various MINSA departments., from the Office of the Minister of Health to the National Department of Epidemiology, the Public Health Directorate, International Maritime Health Affairs, in order to complete all the required procedures and comply with the previously established protocols, to achieve this important goal.

After those efforts, thanks to teamwork and excellent communication, after completing the required procedures, the landing and boarding of the crews was achieved jointly without risk. At all times, the operation complied with the rigorous infection control measures and the non-pharmacological ones, such as the use of masks, handwashing, avoid crowds in transportation and social distancing.

"I am very satisfied with the recent decision issued by the Ministry of Health in response to the request presented last 30 April by our office, to make a safe and safe landing of the ship's crew ", the Licda affirmed. Gianela Rivas, partner of the Moscoso law firm & Partners.

The legal professional specialized in maritime issues explained that part of the crew was repatriated through a humanitarian flight coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.. The rest of the crew, remain in a hotel where they comply with regulatory measures, while the humanitarian flight is running that will take them back to their respective countries.

The Licda. Rivas assured that teamwork was decisive in achieving this achievement, which highlights the advantages that Panama offers., It has the largest ship registry in the world with some 8 thousand ships flagged in the country, which represent around the 20% of the world fleet.

In the framework of the global pandemic by COVID-19, declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) the 11 March 2020, the International Maritime Organization (OMI) It has issued several communications indicating that one of its objectives is to guarantee the availability of maritime transport to commerce., for the benefit of humanity.

IMO has asked all Member States to take the above into account., when making political decisions regarding COVID-19. In addition, IMO makes a strong appeal to remember the hundreds of thousands of seafarers on board ships worldwide, and called on Member States to apply a practical approach to issues such as crew changes, in these unusual times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Director-General of the ILO, Guy Ryder, asked governments to ensure that in these difficult times, seafarers have medical care and can travel to and from their ships, according to the case, to continue fulfilling its vital function.

Panama, member of the aforementioned international organizations, echoes the recommendations made by these, and in days gone by, authorized the first safe and risk-free disembarkation and embarkation of the crews on board two ships anchored in the Bay of Panama a month ago.

Panama once again shows its commitment to the international maritime community, showing that being the leading country in flagging ships, it's not just a title, but a responsibility that you constantly assume with determination.

"Thus, I am very satisfied with the recent decision issued by the Ministry of Health in response to my request submitted last 30 of April, to make a safe and safe landing, of the crew of two ships, who have been anchored in the bay for a month ", Attorney Rivas stated.

Both, noted that it fills her with much pride, what, being consistent with his ideals, was able to contribute to this important achievement. "It is evident that when working together, authorities and stakeholders, with an open and transparent line of communication, bringing out, in this particular case, the welfare of the human factor, you can find the right solutions ”, Gianela Rivas finished, who is also a member of the Board of Directors of the COEL Logistics Business Council.

Gianela Rivas, lawyer specialized in maritime issues.