Shipping Gazette Oct – Nov 09

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Shipping Gazette

Latest maritime and legal news from Panama and around the world

Panama, October-November, 2009 Volume 1, Number 03

In this issue:

  1. Welcome
  2. Panama Registry continues to grow, fewer detentions
  3. The Panama Canal – Update
  4. Panama Marine Circulars Update
  5. Panama Canal awarded a long list of honours worldwide
  6. Panama Canal Expansion – Latest contract, bids and update
  7. Port Reception Facilities for Ship-Generated Waste and Cargo Residues) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 – EU
  8. 505 New free emergency calling from Inmarsat
  9. IMO Update

1. Welcome

We are pleased to bring you important shipping news from Panama covering the Shipping Registry, the Panama Canal and the latest development in the IMO concerning the international shipping scene.

2. Panama Registry continues to grow, fewer detentions

The Panama Registry is still ahead as the leader flag in the world fleet. The latest figure show that Panama has 8,644 vessels of more than 500 dwt with a total gross tonnage of 202.6m up from 8,605 vessels totalling 183.5m gt as of December 2008, according to Lloyd’s Register. The Panama Maritime Authority said Panama’s merchant fleet represents 21.87% of the world’s total fleet. Despite increased vessel numbers, detentions of Panama-flagged vessels fell to 2.5%, down from 12.7%,

Japan is the largest customer of Panama’s Ship Registry accounting for 45.4% of the total fleet, followed by Korea, 7.1%, China, 6.7%, Greece, 6.4% and Taiwan, 4.3%.

The growth in tonnage of 10.08% in the past six months was made possible by the inscription of new buildings, and by the “friendly procedures we have implemented recently, also for the aggressive discounts and simplified process as per General Law of Merchant Marine No. 57 of August 06 of 2009” said Panama Maritime Authority Director of Merchant Marine Alfonso Castillero.

In August 2008, the Panama Maritime Authority’s Marine Merchant Marine Directorate, which administers the Panama Registry, issued a resolution requiring vessels more than 20 years old to submit to an inspection by a recognized inspection organization (RO) before docking at a port within the Paris MOU. If the vessel failed to go through such an RO inspection, it could “be deleted from the registry or subject to a fine”, the authority warned at the time. In addition, any vessels of that age that has been detained twice in six months will be cancelled from the registry.

Although the measure was seen as drastic when implemented, the AMP says the results have already been noticed, said Mr. Castillero. During the first six months of 2009, Panama-flagged vessel detentions fell to 2.5%, down from 12.7%, said Mr. Castillero.

If you are interested in receiving details of business opportunities and commercial ventures in the maritime sector and details of Panama’s Registry new incentives please contact us

3. The Panama Canal – Update

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced on October 1st that it will continue until April 30, 2010 a programme that provides short-term cost reduction and greater flexibility to its Reservation System.

The programme, consisting of temporary measures designed to help mitigate the impact of the economic crisis on the Canal’s clients, was the result of consultations with users and was initially introduced June 1, 2009 for four months until September 30; however, due to the request of users and the Round Table of International Shipping Associations, the ACP agreed to continue the programme until April next year.

The two primary components of the temporary measures are:

  • A redefinition of ballast (ships without passengers and cargo) for full container vessels transiting the Canal; and,
  • Modifications to the Reservation System to increase flexibility and reduce fees.

Temporary Redefinition of Ballast for Full Containerships

The temporary redefinition of the ballast concept for full container vessels allows a ship that carries 30 percent or less of its capacity to be charged the ballast rate of $57.60 per TEU, $14.40 less than the $72 laden (ships with cargo) rate.

Temporary Modifications to the Reservation System

  • Reservation Fee Reduction: The reductions in the base reservation price for all segments that use the ACP’s Reservation System will continue. As an example, the base reservation price for a super vessel, with a beam greater than or equal to 100 feet and a length greater than or equal to 900 feet, is $5,000 less per transit than the rate that was in effect last May.
  • Late Arrival Fee Reductions: Vessels that fail to arrive on-schedule have the option to pay a reduced charge to keep the reservation and transit that same day. This temporary measure provides shipping lines with greater flexibility. The percentage reduction varies depending on the vessel’s arrival time.
  • More Flexibility for Slot Substitutions: Canal customers will continue to be able to request slot substitutions without additional costs up to 30 days before the date of a vessel’s transit. Previously, customers could make such requests without an additional charge if that request was made at least 60 days prior to the date of transit. This temporary measure grants shipping lines more flexibility for slot substitutions, allowing them to replace one vessel for another with similar dimensions.

ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta commented on this extended deadline that “as a global service provider, the Panama Canal is committed to keeping an open dialogue with its customers through these uncertain economic times”.

The Panama Canal Authority is the autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the ACP is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors.

4. Panama Marine Circulars Update

Merchant Marine Circular # Update
202 August
Ratification of the Bunker Convention 2001

Following the submission from the Republic of Panama to the Secretariat of the International Maritime Organization of the ratification of the Bunker Convention 2001 on February 17, 2009, Panamanian Bunker Convention Certificates are available to be issued by the Panama Administration as from 17 May 2009.
Panamanian Bunker Convention certificates can be obtained by filling an application form and submitting it together with the copy of the Blue Card and evidence of the payment made to cover the issue of the certificate.Our office can assist you to obtain the required certificate. Please contact us if you need assistance.
203 July
Material Safety Data Sheet

Guidelines for the Material Safety Data Sheet, which entered into force on 1 July, 2009 and are applicable to all ships carrying oil or oil fuel, as defined in MARPOL Annex I, Regulation 1, prior to loading.
supersedes MMC-141

Outside Ship’s Bottom inspection and Dry docking Interface Periods for Panamanian Flagged Vessels

Set out the dry-docking survey interval requirements for the Panamanian flag registered ships. The instructions described in this circular were prepared based on the Survey Guidelines under the Harmonized System of Survey and Certification, 2007 set out in the annex of the Resolution A. 997(25).
205 Sept

Procedures for the issuance of the International Ship Security Certificate ISSC

The purpose of this Circular is to update the instructions and procedures for the International Ship Security Certificate (ISSC) applications to be submitted to the Panamanian Administration through the Maritime Ships Security Department (MSSD).
206 Sept

Recognition of Company Security Officers (CSO)

Considering that according to the ISPS Code Section 13.1, the Company Security Officer (CSO) shall have acknowledge and have received training, taking into account the guidance given in Part B of the ISPS Code (Section 13.1) and that according to the ISPS Code Section 11.1, a Company may, depending on the number or types of ships they operate, designate several persons as company security officers provided it is clearly identified for which ships each person is responsible, the purpose of the Circular is to update the instructions and procedures for the CSO’s recognition applications to be submitted to the Panamanian Administration through the Maritime Ships Security Department.
207 Sept

Procedures for ISSC Extensions and Additional Verifications

The ISPS Code Section 19.1.2 establishes that the verifications of ships shall be carried out by officers of the Administration. The Panamanian Administration, however, has entrusted the verifications to Recognized Security Organizations (RSOs) referred to in regulation XI-2/1, and listed on the Merchant Marine Circulars No. 131.
Those Recognized Security Organizations (RSO) concerned shall fully guarantee the completion and efficiency of the verifications and shall undertake to ensure the necessary arrangements to satisfy their obligation.

5. Panama Canal awarded a long list of honours worldwide

The Panama Canal has received numerous international honours for the efficient management of the Canal and its expansion. In fact, the Canal’s Expansion Program has received 12 awards to date, including the 2009 International Logistics and Material Handling Exhibition’s “Best International Project” award, the Samoter award for “Best Construction Project in the World” and “Best Long Term Performance Project” last year in Italy, and the “Strategic Project of the Year” award presented to the ACP during the Sixth Latin American Leadership Forum.

To this long list, we have to add the latest three awards honouring the canal; in September 2009 and in honour of the bold and visionary leadership, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Administrator/CEO Alberto Aleman-Zubieta received a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from Lloyd’s List. The award is given on an annual basis to an individual who has dedicated his or her life’s work to furthering the development of the maritime industry.

On the same occasion, a second award was given to the ACP’s Centre for Simulation, Research and Maritime Development (SIDMAR) from the Lloyd’s List in the category of “Training Award” for its leadership in elevating the quality of maritime education and training. For more than 20 years, SIDMAR has been responsible for the training of all Canal operations personnel including ACP pilots, tugboat captains, seamen and launch operators. Capt. Orlando Allard, now retired from the ACP, was the pioneer of SIDMAR and he also received in 2003an award for training, for his contribution to the training of the canal personnel during the transition from USA to Panama Administration of the Panama Canal.

In July 2009, during the 102nd session of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council held on July 6 decided to grant the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 2008 “International Maritime Prize” the highest award in the maritime industry, to Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Administrator/CEO Alberto Aleman-Zubieta.

The International Maritime Prize is awarded annually to an individual who promotes cooperation in the areas of regulation and practices related to the objectives of the IMO.

6. Panama Canal Expansion – Latest contract, bids and update

The well-established ACP bidding system follows a fair, rigorous and transparent contracting process that welcomes open competition; here are the latest awards during the month of September.

Atlantic Entrance Dredging Contract

After a thorough review of the lowest priced proposal The Panama Canal Authority Awarded the Atlantic Entrance Dredging Contract to Jan De Nul N.V. for US$89,617,317.

The tender also included an option to dredge an additional 2.3 million cubic meters. The ACP has 45 days to decide if it exercises the option. Jan De Nul N.V. offered to perform the option for US$16,411,600.

The chart below provides the names of the companies that submitted bids on September 9 with their corresponding bid prices in U.S. dollars.

Joint Venture Boskalis-Dredging International $ 177,611,840
Van Oord Dredging $ 162,182,828
China Harbour Engineering Co $ 116,732,224
Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co $ 195,943,129
Jan De Nul n.v. $ 89,617,317

The Atlantic entrance dredging project ensures that larger, wider ships can reach the new locks. It lowers the Canal bottom to 15.5 meters below the Mean Low Water (MLW) and includes dredging approximately 14.8 million cubic meters and excavating 800 thousand cubic meters. The area to be dredged on the Atlantic entrance extends approximately 13.8 kilometres. The scope of work also includes widening the existing Atlantic entrance channel from 198 meters to a minimum of 225 meters and the north approach channel to a minimum of 218 meters.

Insurance brokerage services

A contract for insurance brokerage services was awarded by The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) to Willis Limited, a unit of Willis Group Holdings (NYSE: WSH), a global insurance broker. Beginning October 2009, Willis will provide strategic risk management counsel, and advise the ACP on the best policies to cover property, floating equipment, loss of income and maritime contingencies, among others. The contract will be for one year with an option to renew for three additional years.

Willis Limited is also the ACP’s broker for its Owner Controlled Insurance Program that includes the Third Party Liability and Construction All Risk coverage for the design and construction of the new set of locks and the fourth dry excavation projects under the Panama Canal Expansion Program.

The ACP received three bids September 4 from top-level internationally renowned insurance brokerage firms biding for the contract. After careful review and thorough evaluation of the submissions, the ACP selected the firm with the lowest bid that met the contract’s objectives as described in the request for proposal released August 4.

7. Port Reception Facilities for Ship-Generated Waste and Cargo Residues) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 – EU

The European Communities (Port Reception Facilities for Ship-Generated Waste and Cargo Residues) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 came into force on 17 September 2009 and make it a requirement that ships must report to ports of destination relevant information concerning sewage on board ship. The Regulations provide a Form for such notification. The information must be notified by the master of a ship at least 24 hours prior to arrival. If the port of call is known less than 24 hours prior to arrival, it should be notified immediately. If the duration of the voyage is less than 24 hours the port should be notified upon commencement of the voyage.

The purpose of these Regulations is to reduce the discharge of sewage into the sea, especially illegal discharges, from ships using ports in the Community, by improving the availability and use of port reception facilities, thereby enhancing the protection of the marine environment.

The Regulations do not apply to recreational craft authorised to carry 12 or fewer passengers or to fishing vessels.

The Regulations amend the existing Form providing for supply of information on ship-generated waste and cargo residues to port of destination by the addition of sewage as a waste requiring notification.

To read the regulation please visit the following link: ( )

8. 505 New free emergency calling from Inmarsat

505 Emergency Calling is exclusive to FleetBroadband. In emergencies call 505 free of charge. From anywhere on the globe and get straight through to your nearest Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre. It’s the only number you need.

505 Emergency Calling is a short code dialling facility that provides direct access to maritime relief. In a time of distress, a seafarer need only dial ‘505’ – selected for its similarity to ‘SOS’ – to immediately contact a Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC).

Please note that 505 Emergency Calling is not GMDSS compliant, and equipment compliant with GMDSS should be used in the first instance by those vessels equipped with it.

How it works?

In an emergency, calling ‘505’ will connect you to one of three MRCCs strategically located across the globe. You will be offered assistance in any type of emergency.

If you require rescue or other action, the MRCC will ensure you receive prompt assistance from those best suited to address your circumstances and location.

Quick facts
  • 505 Emergency Calling is offered free of charge by Inmarsat, provided it is only used in emergencies
  • Designed primarily for smaller vessels that do not require GMDSS-compliant equipment
  • Only for use via FleetBroadband 500, 250, and 150
  • Calls are directed to a Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre
  • Make 505 calls while engaged in an IP connection, but not ISDN
What to do: In an emergency, call ‘505’ and clearly provide the following information: 

Who you are vessel name, telephone number and call-sign
Where you are your latitude and longitude or a bearing and distance from a known geographical point
What is wrong nature of emergency or difficulty
What you need the type of assistance required
How many the number of persons on board

9. IMO Updatee

The last few months of 2009 will be very busy for the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Very important issues will be discussed and decided upon, not the least of which is the election of the IMO Council Members. Two Council meetings will be held, one on 19 and 20 November and one on 4 December 2009. The Assembly meetings, which usually span two weeks of plenary discussions, elections and social events, will be held from 23 November to 4 December 2009. But, the previous months have been very busy as well. There was a Legal Committee meeting held from 5 to 9 October 2009 and the World Maritime Day celebrations on 24 September 2009. This year’s IMO message for World Maritime Day is Climate Change: a challenge for IMO too!

During the Legal Committee meeting, 96th session the issue of Bunkers Convention certificates was clarified in order to avoid possible confusion. A draft resolution on this matter will be submitted for discussion and approval by the 26th session of the Assembly. The Committee also agreed that financial security for abandonment and personal injury/death of seafarers should be made mandatory. This issue will be discussed at the next International Labour Organization meeting. Entry into force by the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC 2006) was also discussed, with a reminder that to date it has been ratified by only five ILO Members representing more than 44% of the world gross tonnage and the related responsibility for nearly 50% of the world’s seafarers working on these ships. For entry into force, ratification is required by at least 30 Members representing at least 33% of the world gross tonnage.

In this respect and with the objective of promoting ratification by more States, ILO held a meeting in Barbados during the month of September. Representatives from the Panama Maritime Authority, the Maritime Chamber and the International Transport Worker’s Federation participated. Captain Orlando Allard, a Chamber member, represented the Maritime Chamber of Panama at this meeting, while Roberto Vallarino, Director General of Seafarers of the Maritime Authority representative presented the country report. Captain Luis Carlos Fruto of the International Transport Worker’s Federation, represented seafarers.

On the subject of piracy, the Legal Committee reviewed information submitted by Member Governments, noting that in most cases piracy is not addressed as an independent, separate crime, but is combined with more general categories of crime, such as robbery, kidnapping, abduction, violence against persons, etc. This makes the just punishment of this crime under some legislation very difficult, while making the production of statistics difficult as well. But, as might be expected, the subject of piracy has been present in many IMO meetings and will continue to be discussed in the upcoming Assembly and Council meetings.

During the 102nd session of Council, held during the period 29 June to 13 July 2009, Member States agreed that the theme for 2010 World Maritime Day will be “ 2010: Year of the Seafarer”. This theme complements IMO´s ongoing “Go to Sea” campaign to attract young men and women to pursue maritime careers and actually go to sea. The 2010-2011 budget was considered, but will not be approved until the next session of Council in November of this year. During this session, Council approved in principle –to be adopted by the Assembly – a five-year plan to make the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit an IMO institutionalized mandatory scheme. On this subject, a reminder that the first audits were carried out in 2006 and that to date, 50 Members and one Associate Member have volunteered – with 31 audits already completed. Panama passed its voluntary IMO audit in December 2008.

According to the IMO Assembly meeting provisional agenda to be held in November, reports from all Committees will be discussed as well as organizational reforms; reports from the 2009 International Conference on the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships; approval of the biennial budget and election of Members of the Council in its three different categories. Panama is a Member of the Council, in category A since 2003.

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