© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A woman walk pass next to Panama flags a day before the inauguration of the Panama Canal Expansion project, in Panama City, Panama June 25, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso/File Photo
PANAMA CITY (Reuters) – The Panama Maritime Authority (AMP (OTC:)) said on Tuesday it would continue to clean up its fleet to prevent substandard Panama-flagged ships from being detained in foreign ports, a week after the country was added to an international watch list.
Panama’s ships registry was last week added to the “grey list” of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), an agreement among 27 countries establishing an international inspection regime for foreign ships in other nations’ ports, aiming to control ships’ safety and environmental standards.
The grey list includes fleets with acceptable compliance levels but low detention rates.
Panama has removed 216 vessels from its ships registry, the world’s largest, since 2021, for not meeting international standards.
In a statement, the AMP said that Panama’s registry, which numbers at some 8,500 vessels, had been inspected at least 45,000 times, giving “an overall fleet compliance level of 96.17% and a detention rate of 3.83% downward.”
Panama’s inclusion on the watch list could be due to an aging fleet, the AMP said, noting that of 374 detentions reported in the last three years, 104 of the detentions involved ships more than 30 years old and 35 were of ships over 40 years old.