The Panama Maritime Authority has issued Merchant Marine Circular to inform all parties related with the Panamanian flagged vessels, about the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC), the Best Management Practices (BMP), the Ship’s Reports, and the Contact Points of Coordinating Authorities whereby the ships entitled to fly the Panamanian flag may request advice or assistance when sailing in waters off the coast of Somalia and to which can report any security concerns about other ships, movements and/or communications in the area.
Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC)
All the Panamanian flagged vessels are requested to use the IRTC, which includes the creation of separate eastbound and westbound transit lanes. Each lane will be 5 nautical miles wide and will be separated by a 2 nautical miles buffer zone.
As the IRTC is subject to changes by the military Authorities, according to prevailing circumstances, the Panamanian flagged vessels are urged to obtain updated information from the Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) on the website address http://www.mschoa.org or from the NAV-warnings promulgated for that area
Best Management Practices (BMP)
All the Panamanian flagged vessels are requested, prior to transit or leaving a port within the region, to follow the BMP and to contact the local information centers to get updated instructions on transit and reporting.
It is anticipated that the BMP will be periodically updated based upon operational experience and lessons learned. The Panamanian flagged vessels are urged to keep to the latest version of the BMP and verify it with the designated information centers when approaching to the Gulf of Aden (GoA) and the Somali Basin.
Panamanian Flagged Vessels operating within the World Food Program (WFP) in the GoA and the Somali basin, shall implement as far practicable, the BMP. 4.4 Statistics have shown that following the BMP, including suggested routing advisories, considerably lessened the incidence of pirate attacks. These measures also help the Naval Forces in the area to protect the vessels in transit.
The Panama Maritime Administration (PMA) if deems it necessary and in order to safeguard the safety and security of the ship and the crew, may request the presence of trained and armed guards for the protection of ships flying the Panama flag.
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