Speech of the PMA’s Administrator at the MAIIF’s opening ceremony.



Good Morning:

Mr. Steve Clinch Chairman of the MAIIF, Mr. Alan Blume Vice Chairman, Commodore David Squire General Secretary, Mr. Jorge Quijano, Panama Canal Administrator, Mr. Alejandro Agustin Moreno, Deputy Administrator of the AMP, Mr. Tomas Ávila, General Secretary of the AMP, Mr. Fernando Solórzano, AMP, Mr. Gerardo Varela, Ports and Auxiliary Maritime Industries General Director of the AMP, And delegates of the different maritime administrations and observers.

It is a pleasure and  honour for the Panama Maritime Authority, together with the Panama Canal Authority to be the host country of the twenty-third Marine Accident International Investigator’s Forum (MAIIF). And as some of the delegates here may recall, the Republic of Panama had the honor of hosting this same forum back in 2006.

As you all know, it is an obligation for member countries of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to carry out an investigation according to the Code of the International Standards and Recommended Practices for a Safety Investigation into a Marine Casualty or Marine Incident. This Code incorporates and builds on the best practices in marine casualty and/or incident investigations that were established by the Code for the Investigation of Marine Casualties and Incidents, adopted in November 1997 by the IMO. The Code for the Investigation of Marine Casualties and Incidents sought to promote co-operation and a common approach to marine casualty and incident investigations between States.

The main objective of any marine casualty investigation is to determine the circumstance of the casualty and then through the findings, make recommendations to prevent reoccurrences of accidents of the same kind in the future; to save lives of people at sea and to prevent ecological damage to the environment. It is not the purpose of such investigation to determine liability or to apportion blame.

In the past, the lack of direct contacts with the different administrations made it impossible for the countries to carry out the marine investigations smoothly, but thanks to the creation of the MAIIF, which has been used as a tool for our Administration and similarly for the other countries to exchange experiences, we have found cooperation and friendly relationship among the various maritime administrations for a better development in marine investigations.

Also, we have managed to conduct various joint investigations with other administrations in a fast and efficient manner, due to the high participation of delegates of the various maritime administrations in this forum, providing us with direct contact points of different bureaus or departments that have the responsibility to investigate marine casualties which occurred on vessels of different flags either in jurisdictional or international waters.

We also have to mention that thanks to the creation of this forum, it has been the inspiration for other continents to create their own forums, such as the Marine Accident Investigators Forum Asia, European Marine Accident Investigators Forum and the American Marine Investigators Forum. All these forums serve to keep friendly relations and to promote the cooperation between the different maritime administrations.

As we know, the maritime world is constantly growing, bringing 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 decent workplace, and to report any accident of any nature suffered by one or more crew members.  

Finally, I want us to make a pray for all the seafarers and passengers victims form marine accidents, especially the ones from the recent incident happened at Chiriquí.

I will end by saying, welcome you all to Panama and to this forum and we wish you a helpful experience and a rewarding stay in our country.

Many thanks.