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PANAMA MARITIME AUTHORITY


documents in 24 hours. Segumar New York had been reopened under the supervision of Segumar Panama that ‘will strengthen our technical presence for our customers,’ says Linares. Since January 2009, the Bunker 2001


Convention entered force following Panama’s ratification of the Bunker 2001 Convention. All ships registered under the Panama flag will be covered and must present an insurance policy for any environmental contamination caused by accidental fuel leakage or hydrocarbon discharge. They will therefore require additional insurance to cover fuel contamination. In addition to the ship owner, the company or person that charters the vessel, ship manager and the registered owner will have to pay compensation in case of accident or negligence on their part for damages to the environment caused by lubricants and fuel. In addition, Panama


has extended until December 2012, the limit date for all tankers operating with a single hull and navigating Panamanian waters, according to the International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution (MARPOL) Regulations 20 & 21. After that date, all tankers navigating Panamanian waters will be required to have a double hull. It is a primacy of Panama to decide when to extend the operations of single hull tankers and the AMP’s decision will give bunker vessel operators sufficient time to adapt to the new rules, and some respite to bunker barge owners as the conversion to double hull from single hull requires lots of investments. However, under the pressure of some clients and specially the Oil Majors, most companies started to buy double hulls or convert their vessels into double hull. This has made a dramatic change on the age of the fleet. The expansion of the Panama Canal will add a third set of larger and wider locks that will double capacity allowing the passage of post-Panamax vessels. It will have a positive effect on Panama’s bunker sector as more ships will be able to take bunkers in Panama after 2014 when the inauguration of the future locks will take place. Such encouraging forecast has attracted many new players in the market, conservatively


PANAMA MARITIME REVIEW 2011/12


estimated at around 4m metric tonnes to date. One attraction of taking bunkers in Panama is that vessels transiting the waterway have an average 8-10-hour-waiting time before coming into the channel and the locks


A significant number of international companies want to establish bunkering facilities in Panama.


Panama bunker market is composed


of eight companies that operate 23 vessels, 20 terminals and fuel and marine diesel suppliers. Meanwhile, several new players have come to Panama recently: OW Bunker, Aegean Marine Petroleum Network and Oiltanking. Although bunker storage capacity is 7.2m bbl, investments in the existing terminals and those being built should reach 10.6m bbl capacity in 2012. At the end of 2008, Panama’s Register


passed the IMO voluntary audit with flying colours, receiving a seal of approval that the Register had no breaches of international conventions and codes. The auditors reviewed the procedures and steps that the Authority uses to register and inspect ships, as well as the codes that are used in the country's ports. In late 2005, the IMO adopted a voluntary plan to audit member countries with the aim of verifying the degree of compliance with the agency's regulations regarding safety, environment and labour. In total, the auditors verified Panama's compliance with 12 international conventions, 15 codes and 135 mandatory resolutions of the IMO. Panama, the largest


flag State in the world, with 22% of the world's


during which they will bunker on both entrances of the Canal. ‘We have received a significant number of international companies wanting to establish bunkering facilities in Panama, and we are examining all the requests,’ says Linares. ‘The future of bunkering activities in Panama is very promising,’ he adds. Decal that operates bunker tanks in


Taboguilla Island, at the Pacific entrance of the waterway, received approval to double its capacity to 2.4m barrels and other bunker projects are under construction. Puerto Armuelles on the northwestern Pacific coast, near the existing Petroterminal pipeline linking Charco Azul on the Pacific coast to Chiriqui Grande on the Atlantic coast, is attracting European businessmen and the construction of Melones Oil Terminal, a $80m Panamanian venture with the latest-spec tank farm being built on a 38,700sq mtr island located at the Panama Canal Pacific entrance, should be operating by mid-2012.


merchant fleet flying its flag, was the fourth major shipping country in the world to ratify the Convention, adopted by the 94th International Labour Conference (Maritime) in Geneva in February 2006. It means that seafarers working on more than 40% of the world's merchant fleet will be covered by the decent work requirements of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 when it enters into force. Panama has established the tripartite Maritime Labour Commission formed by the State (AMP), employers (Panama Chamber of Shipping) and employees (represented by the ITF) of the maritime sector. Rules and regulations have been approved by the tripartite commission. The AMP through its departments of merchant marine and seafarers has delegated the implementation of the MLC2006 to the Class Societies and Recognised Organisations (ROs). Both Class Societies and ROs are training local technicians for the voluntary certification and guidance to the ship owners before the issuance of certifications required by the Convention. •


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