The AMP manages to recover more than 2 million dollars in wages owed to Seafarers
Thanks to the mediation of the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP), through the General Directorate of Seafarers (DGGM), the payment of USD $2,021,691.29 in wages owed by the shipowners to the seafarers was achieved, while around five hundred thirty-nine (539) repatriations were carried out on Panamanian flag vessels, in various parts of the world, by the end of 2020.
It was the result of the processing of four hundred twenty-seven (427) labor complaints filed by seafarers, which were received by the Department of Maritime Labor Affairs of the DGGM. This arduous work proves once again our commitment to compliance with international conventions and national regulations that regulate the work of seafarers on board Panamanian flag vessels.
Through the application of the group of norms that regulate the living and working conditions on board Panamanian flag vessels that guarantee decent work, such as the Maritime Labor Convention, 2006 as amended, ratified by the Republic of Panama in the year 2009; its regulation in Panama through Executive Decree No. 86 of 2013 and Decree Law No. 8 of 1998, these results were achieved.
In turn, and to safeguard faithful compliance with labor regulations, special attention has also been paid to the need to teach and educate on current and applicable maritime labor regulations, for which the Familiarization Course on Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, as amended (MLC, 2006) and its applicability on board Panamanian flag vessels, which was aimed at the technical staff of the institution and those at the Regional Documentation Offices. Also, the invitation was extended to the members of the Panamanian Association of Naval Officers (APOM), the Association of Shipowners of Panama (ARPA), the International Maritime University of Panama (UMIP), Columbus University, Agencies of Placement of Seafarers and representatives of the Ministry of Labor and Work Development (MITRADEL), to participate in this important training.
The main objective of the training was to publicize the guidelines of the Convention and its amendments, which in total have been three (3) to date, which have established new rights for seafarers and obligations for shipowners. On December 26, 2020, the most recent, that is the 3rd Amendment (2018), came into force and with it the following regulations were added:
• Seafarers’ employment agreements (Regulation 2.1) whose objective is to ensure that employment agreements continue to have effect while seafarers are in captivity as the result of acts of piracy and / or armed robbery against ships.
• Salaries (Regulation 2.2), which provides that wages and benefits, including remittances, provided for in seafarers’ employment agreements, relevant collective agreements or applicable national laws, must continue to be paid during the entire period of captivity and until seafarers are released and duly repatriated or, in the event of death of seafarers during their captivity, until the date of death determined in accordance with national laws or regulations.
• Repatriation (Regulation 2.5), the objective of which is to ensure that the right to repatriation cannot expire when seafarers are held in captivity as a result of acts of piracy or armed robbery against ships.
Due to the entry into force of these new amendments to the MLC, 2006, it was necessary to adapt Executive Decree No. 86 of February 22, 2013, national regulation, through which the aforementioned Convention was regulated in the Republic of Panama. .
Similarly, the updating of the guidelines for inspections by the flag State and the guidelines for inspections by the Port State Control, was also required. To carry out this update, a working group was created by the International Labor Organization (ILO), where the Republic of Panama was the country chosen to represent the Latin American and Caribbean region.
This meeting highlighted the fact that Panama was the only country that announced on September 14, 2020, that it would no longer be issuing more extensions of employment agreements of Seafarers who work on ships of the Panamanian Registry, where as of that date (September 14, 2020), the provisions established in the Maritime Labor Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006) were again complied with.
These actions described, reaffirm the commitment of the AMP to the application of the Maritime Labor Convention, 2006 as amended, of which Panama is a signatory, as well as the national regulations, carried out during the execution of the functions that are developed through the DGGM and its Department of Maritime Labor Affairs, whose main function is to ensure that seafarers enjoy decent living and working conditions that guarantee their well-being.