In light of the above, the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization, Kitack Lim sent a letter to the Office of the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Administrator of the Panama Maritime Authority, noting:

"I wish to express to arch. Noriel Araúz my sincere thanks for the fruitful and positive cooperation that exists between the Republic of Panama and the International Maritime Organization (IMO), reinforced during these difficult times, and I also want to convey my deep condolences to all those who in his country have been affected by this unprecedented event. It is a very difficult time for all of us, we are going through pain, financial problems and great changes in our daily lives".

What is more, Mr. Kitack Lim added that during these difficult times of the pandemic, Panama’s efforts to facilitate crew change were proved to be essential for the flow of trade by sea.

"I wish to commend Panama’s efforts to facilitate crew changes, in particular, I am grateful for the joint statement issued by Panama and Liberia on this matter and for supporting IMO Circular Letter No. 4204 / Add.14 for the “Recommended framework of protocols that guarantee safe changes in the ship’s crew and travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I urge all countries to fully comply with their obligations regarding crew changes, repatriation and access to medical care. I encourage Panama to share its best practices with other nations, to allow the transition period to run smoothly, as the world’s seafarers deserve" IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim concluded in his letter.