Panama, July 28th.

Mr. Jorge Barakat Pitty, the Administrator of the Panama Maritime Authority opened the XXIII Marine Accident Investigators’ International Forum (MAIIF23), which, on this occasion, brings together the delegations from 70 countries from all over the world.

Mr. Barakat pointed: “It’s a pleasure and an honor for the Panama Maritime Authority, together with the Panama Canal Authority to be the hosts – Panama is host-country for the second time – of the twenty-third Marine Accident Investigators’ International Forum.

Barakat further explained that that this forum allows an exchange of knowledge and experiences between the participating countries; it further promotes the necessary contacts for international cooperation in the investigation of accidents, especially, it allows a joint work of the Port State Control of various flags. 

In the past, the lack of direct contacts with the different administrations made it impossible for Panama to carry out the marine investigations smoothly, but thanks to the creation of the MAIIF, we have found cooperation and friendly relationship among the various maritime administrations for a better development in marine investigations. This cooperation has promoted a better development on the topic of marine investigations.

We have managed to conduct several investigations, quickly and efficiently, in collaboration with other administrations, this has been possible thanks to the high participation, in this forum, of delegates from the various maritime administrations. This provides us with direct contact points of different bureaus or departments that have the responsibility to investigate marine casualties, which have occurred on vessels of different flags, either in jurisdictional or international waters.

The MAIIF has been responsible for generating the International Maritime Organization’s (OMI) Code for Casualty Investigators, as well as for the Model Courses for accident investigators, which are taught in the International Maritime Universities in both Malmö, Sweden and Trieste, Italy. 

As we know, the maritime world is constantly growing, bringing the construction of new vessels, with new technologies. However, it is still our concern, not only to prevent damage to the vessel itself and to prevent pollution, but also to keep safety amongst our seafarers on board; with the creation of the MLC, 2006, we have another responsibility in our hands, which is to guarantee a safe and a decent work place for the seafarers.

At the opening ceremony were also present, Mr. Steve Clinch, Chairman, Mr. Alan Blume, Vice-chairman, Mr. David Squire, Secretary General, on behalf of the MAIIF 23; on behalf of the Panama Canal Administration, Mr. Jorge Quijano, Administrator, and finally, on behalf of the Panama Maritime Authority, Mr. Alejandro Agustín Moreno, Deputy Administrator, Mr. Tomás Ávila, Secretary General, Mr. Fernando Solórzano, Merchant Marine General Director, and Mr. Gerardo Varela, Ports and Auxiliary Maritime Industries General Director.