Panama ships face new pollution rules
The administrator of the Panama Maritime Authority AMP (Autoridad Marítima de Panamá), Fernando Solorzano said that Panama ratified the ...
The administrator of the Panama Maritime Authority AMP (Autoridad Marítima de Panamá), Fernando Solorzano said that Panama ratified the Convention about Civil Responsibility for damages caused by Hydrocarbons products coming from Ships, last month.
Therefore ships under Panamanian flags will have to have additional insurance that will cover fuel contamination.
According to the administrator, in the past the conventions covered contamination due to spillage of crude oil as in the case of the Exxon Valdez, but not that caused by fuel.
The new legislation closes the loophole.
The convention known as Bunker 2001, makes the ship owner responsible for the damages caused by contamination and the cost of preventive measures to avoid them.
In addition to the ship owner the company or person that is renting the vessel, the ship manager and the registered owner, will have to pay compensation in case of accident or negligence on their part.
The Bunker 2001 rule makes it very clear that among the hydrocarbons that can cause damages to environment are lubricants and fuel.
Under the convention, the ship owner will have to pay the country that has been affected for the contamination compensation for damages caused on land, territorial sea or any other part where the vessel was at the time when the fuel was spilled.
However, the ship owner will not be responsible for damages caused to the territory if the accident happened as an act of war, a natural phenomenon, negligence from a third party and the authorities responsible for the maintenance of navigational lights.
Solorzano added that the Panamanian government is planning to sign in the future other conventions to protect the environment such as the one prohibiting the sale as scrap metal, ships that have transported toxic materials, or use their parts to repair other vessels.
The administrator said that in the past, inspectors have found radioactive scrap metal in shipyards, that came from ships that transported those materials and that makes them really dangerous for workers and other people in the vicinity.
The convention currently is being studied at AMP and will be ratified soon by the government of Panama.
Another international legal document that Panama is taking into consideration is the one that prohibits the use of lead paint on ships, because of the damages it causes to the marine flora and fauna. Currently Panama has the biggest merchant navy in the world with 350,000 ships and is very influential in the maritime international circles. That is why it is very important to sign conventions that protect the environment and preserve the health of the oceans, before is too late to do something about it, said Solorzano.