The Panama Maritime Authority vide updated Merchant Marine Notice, MMN-03/2020 has informed that in those cases where crew change is not possible due to the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Administration considers granting exemptions to the following requirements;
If the seafarers employment agreement expires or will expire soon, an exception to Standard A2.4.3 ‘Entitlement to leave’, and Standard A126.96.36.199 (b) ‘Repatriation’ of the Maritime Labour Condition 2006, will be granted in order to extend it.
In those cases where the change of crew, due to expiration of the Certificate/s cannot be carried out, the Administration will consider issuance of an Exemption or Dispensation Letter based on evaluation of the nature of the case.
Exemption/ Dispensation as above will be granted by Panama administration through an Authorization letter.
A. Extension of Seafarers Employment Agreement:
Shipowners seeking Extension of seafarers employment agreement as per ‘2 a’ above, are required to request SEGUMAR Office submitting the following requirements;
Email requesting the extension of the Certificate, including the particulars of the vessel, seafarer name and position onboard.
Objective evidence that the seafarer cannot be repatriated when his employment agreement expires.
Letter signed by the seafarer agreeing to the extension of the Seafarer Employment Agreement (SEA).
Copy of Seafarer Employment Agreement (SEA) of each seafarer and the SEA extension signed by both parties (Seafarer and Ship-Owner).
Copy of the Registry certificate.
Exception letter granted by Panama Administration under above provision will be valid for a period of three (3) months to continue being engaged under the Seafarers employment agreement beyond a period of 11 months.
If the situation of the pandemic remains the same, this period may be extended by the Administration on a case-by case basis, upon application, as long as it is agreed by both parties and the above mentioned requirements are in compliance.
Any extension granted would require an addendum to the Seafarer Employment Agreement under the same terms and conditions as the underlying agreement and it must be agreed by both parties.
At the end of the extension period, all seafarers must have the right for their paid leave, taking into account the whole period worked on board, as an exceptional circumstance to the Standard A2.4.3.
B. Extension of Seafarers Certificates including Certificate of Endorsement:
Shipowners seeking Extension of seafarers certificates including certificate of endorsement as per Para ‘2 b’ above are required to request SEGUMAR Office submitting the following requirements;
Email requesting the extension of the Certificate, including the particulars of the vessel, crew name and position onboard.
For extension of certificate under Regulation I/2 and Seaman’s book (for ratings) - Copy of the Certificate/s or Seaman’s Book issued by the Panama Maritime Authority.
Extension granted by Panama Administration under above provision will be valid for a period of three (3) months from the date of expiration of the certificate/s, and will be reviewed by the Administration to decide whether the granted extension requires additional period considering the condition of the COVID-19.
For extension of certificate issued under Regulation I/10 of the STCW’78 Convention, as amended - Authorization letter of extension of the issuance Country and copy of the Home Country License. The extension would be given according to the letter of authorization of the issuance’s Country CoC’s or CoP’s.
Copy of the Registry certificate.
C. Extension of the Validity of Colour Copy of Full terms of Technical Documents onboard:
The Panama Maritime Authority will grant an extension of the color copy of the full terms of Technical Documentation (Seaman’s book, Course endorsement, Certificate of Competence, Certificate of Proficiency, Endorsement of Certificate of Competence and Endorsement of Certificate of Proficiency) for the period of ninety (90) calendar days,
counting from the issuing date of the technical documentation. This is In addition to the measures taken in the MMC-313 updated to 01st April 2020.
D. Dispensation Letter: If any third Party member of the STCW’78 Convention, who issued the Seafarers Certificate has not extended it due to Corona Virus outbreak, Panama Administration will grant a Dispensation Letter to the capacity (rank). Shipowners seeking Dispensation Letter are required to request SEGUMAR Office submitting the following requirements;
Copy of the Certificate/s,
Copy of the Registry certificate.
E. Extension of Medical Certificate and Certificate of Proficiency:
The Administration has informed that;
The Administration will grant an Authorization to the seafarer who´s medical certificate has expired within January and September 2020. Request for authorization letter can be made at - firstname.lastname@example.org by submitting the following;
a) Copy of the medical certificate expired within January and June 2020 issued by a medical practitioner recognized by the Panama Maritime Authority,
b) Passport copy.
The Authorization Letter will be valid for a period of six (6) months and will be issued at no cost.
In urgent cases, the Administration may permit a seafarer to work without a valid medical certificate until the next port of call where a medical practitioner recognized by a State Party of the STCW´78 as amended is available. Request for Authorization Letter for same can be made to email@example.com by submitting the following:
a) The ship’s particulars, crew name and position on board.
b) Copy of the medical certificate expired issued by a medical practitioner recognized by a State Party of the STCW’78 as amended and/or MLC, 2006 as amended.
c) Panama License (Certificate of Competence, Endorsement of Certificate of Competence, Seaman´s Book).
The period of such authorization letter will not exceed three (3) months, and it will be issued at no cost.
If the medical certificate of a seafarer expires, it shall continue in force in this exceptional circumstances for a period of three (3) months from its expiry date (MLC, 2006 Standard A1.2.9).
Certificate of proficiency issued by an authorized Maritime Training Center of Panama in accordance with the regulation V and VI of the STCW, as amended (except those issued unde<./p>r Regulation I/2) will be considered valid for a period of three (3) months from its expiry date.
F. Dispensation Letter of the Certificate of Inspection of Crew Accommodation (CICA).
The Dispensation Letter to extend the Certificate of Inspection of Crew Accommodation (CICA) issued by the Maritime Labour Affairs Department of the General Directorate of Seafarers shall continue to be issued. Ship owners/ operators seeking Dispensation letter are required to submit the following requirements to the e-mail address - firstname.lastname@example.org
Request Certificate of Inspection of Crew Accommodation (CICA) extension, including the particular of the vessel and reasons of the request.
Copy of Full-Term Certificate of Inspection of Crew Accommodation (CICA) expired or about to expire.
Annual Taxes Receipt.
The Dispensation Letters issued will be valid for a period of three (3) months, and at no cost, solely under this exceptional circumstances.
A copy of the Dispensation Letter issued by the Directorate General of Seafarers is to be attached to the Certificate of Inspection of Crew Accommodation (CICA).
Measures established vide attached MMN-03/2020 would be reviewed and revised by the Administration, as required, based on the condition of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) across the global trade in the maritime sector.
Ship owners/ operators and masters of Panama flagged ships are advised to be guided by above.
This Technical Circular supersedes and revokes earlier Technical Circular No. 090/2020, dated 20 June 2020.
This Technical Circular and the material contained in it is provided only for the purpose of supplying current information to the reader and not as an advice to be relied upon by any person. While we have taken utmost care to be as factual as possible, readers/ users are advised to verify the exact text and content of the Regulation from the original source/ issuing Authority.