Panama Maritime Authority supports The Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change!
The Republic of Panama, through the Panama Maritime Authority, has provided its support to all national and international actions aimed at the well-being of seafarers, valuing and assuming that they are “Key Workers” because they are a fundamental part of the global supply chain, which is why on this occasion we offer our support to The Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change, we even show interest in becoming signatories of it.
The Neptune Declaration calls for the implementation of four main actions to address the crisis:
- Recognize seafarers as key workers and give them priority access to Covid-19 vaccines.
- Establish and implement health protocols based on existing best practices.
- Increase collaboration between ship operators and charterers to facilitate crew changes.
- Guarantee air connectivity between key maritime centers for seafarers.
Panama began to apply them in March 2020, being the first country in the world to provide timely humanitarian assistance to the cruises “Zaandam” and “Rotterdam”, when transferring their passengers and crew, they were managed to deliver supplies, medicines, medical equipment, and their transit through the Panama Canal was coordinated.
In addition, Panama applies the recommendations established in the Circular Letter of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) No. 4204 / Add.14, relative to the prevailing need for safe crew changes and the protocols are established to carry them out safely. Support was also given for the IMO’s decision to designate seafarers as “Key Workers”, effective 17 May 2020.
This deployment was carried out at a pace and scale that has never before seen in Panama through the sea, air, and land that included various government institutions, shipping companies, and shipping agencies, acting in a synchronized manner, with the mission of providing a response to the people of the sea and the crew that needed to return home, achieving that from March 17, 2020, to May 2021, there were more than 18,000 movements related to crew changes (repatriations and disembarks) of more than 50 different nationalities, including people from the Panamanian sea, from different types of vessels, most cruise ships that arrived in Panama in jurisdictional waters and ports, both by sea and air, in vessels belonging to the Panamanian Registry as well as registered with other flags, in frank collaboration with the IMO Member States.
In addition, “we express our support for the various declarations and guidelines that at the national and international level, are coordinated with the purpose of promoting the vaccination of seafarers against COVID-19, this work has also been carried out as support for the key workers, since May 2021, various vaccination days have been held for workers in the maritime, logistics and port sectors, as well as Panamanian seafarers,” said the AMP.