Maritime Security specialist Ambrey Risk has been awarded accreditation to work with Panama-flagged vessels, making the company one of the first maritime security firms to be granted official accreditation from the Panama Maritime Authority, sanctioning the services of armed and unarmed escort guards on vessels transiting piracy high risk areas.
Ambrey Risk were quick to react following the recent change of law in Panama under which from 3rd October 2012 it was said all Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSCs) serving Panamanian flagged ships must have official accreditation from the Panama Maritime Authority (this directive has since been extended to 3rd January 2013).
The stringent review process of the Panamanian Administration was overseen by the Directorate General of Merchant Marine and vetted by a special board of experts from the Panama Maritime Authority. Ambrey Risk Business Management Director James Gasson-Hargreaves, said: “With this new law, all the paperwork will be with the authorities, and therefore granting approval for a team to come onboard can be achieved swiftly and efficiently We congratulate the Panamanian authorities for taking this positive step in its determination to ensure to ship owners and operators guarantee that only reputable companies with sound infrastructure are employed onboard Panamanian registered ships.”
In MSC.1/Circ.1405/Rev.1 of 16 September 2011 the International Maritime Organization (IMO) raised concerns over the absence of applicable regulation and industry self-regulation, coupled with complex legal requirements governing the legitimate transport, carriage and use of firearms on ships. It was also said that the rapid growth in the number of private maritime security companies raised doubts about the capabilities and maturity of some of these firms.
With Panama’s new measure, any Panamanian accredited PMSC will have a flag state reference, proving to new clients and the industry that its operations and structure have been assessed by a competent administration. This promises to be an advance in aiding shipping companies to identify reliable, professional private providers of armed security.
John Thompson, Commercial Director, Ambrey Risk, added: “We always aim to keep abreast of new regulations, and Panama flagged vessels are very important to us, so we are pleased that this accreditation award will show we are staying agile and responsive to the needs of shipping and their account management with our own uncompromising standards and attention to detail. We would particularly like to thank Maria Dixon of ISM Shipping for her knowledge and sound advice in helping us manage the changes that have been brought into force by the Panamanian authorities.”