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Secure a Ship Ltd has achieved accreditation for a maritime security company to work with Panama Flagged Vessels.

UK-based Secure a Ship became one of the first maritime security companies to secure official accreditation in September 2012 from the Panama Maritime Authority sanctioning the services of armed and unarmed escort guards on vessels transiting piracy high risk areas.

Secure a Ship were swift to act, following the recent change of law in Panama under which from 3rd October 2012 all Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSCs) serving Panamanian ships must have official accreditation from the Panama Maritime Authority. This date was then extended to the 3rd January 2013.

Paul Maguire CEO says “This highlights Secure a Ship’s constant stride for perfection and having the foresight to aid the client.”

The stringent review process of the Administration was effected by two of its departments and vetted by a special board of experts from the Panama Maritime Authority.

With the new law, it is going to be easier for everyone, as all the paperwork will be with the authorities, and therefore granting approval for a team to come aboard can be achieved swiftly,. This is a positive step by Panama in its aim of ensuring flexibility and good service to ship owners and operators and ensuring that reputable companies with sound infrastructure are employed on board Panamanian registered ships.

In MSC.1/Circ.1405/Rev.1 of 16 September 2011 the International maritime Organization raised concerns over the absence of applicable regulation and industry self-regulation, coupled with complex legal requirements governing the legitimate transport, carriage and use of firearms on ships. Further, it was said that the rapid growth in the number of private maritime security companies raised doubts about the capabilities and maturity of some of these firms.

With Panamas new measure, any Panamanian accredited PMSC will have a flag state reference, proving to new clients and the industry that its operations and structure have been analysed by a competent administration. This promises to be an advance in aiding shipping companies to identify reliable, professional private providers of armed security.

Please see below the circular.

To: Ship-owners/Operators, Company Security Officers, Private Security Companies, Legal Representatives of Panamanian Flagged Vessels, Panamanian Merchant Marine Consulates and Recognized Organizations (ROs).
Subject: Authorization for Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSC)
Reference: MMC.228 MSC.1/Circ.1405/Rev.2 MSC.1/Circ.1406/Rev.1 MSC.1/Circ.1333 MSC.1/Circ.1334 MSC.1./Circ. 1443
Resolution No.106-13-DGMM
1. The purpose of this Merchant Marine Circular is to officially communicate that on April 4th, 2012 was published in the Official Gazette, the Resolution No.106-13-DGMM, dated March 8th, 2012, whereby the
Panama Maritime Authority establishes requirements for the Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSC) to meet, in order to become authorized by this Administration. This Resolution will enter into force on October 3rd, 2012. ‘This has now been extended to the 3rd January 2013 to allow other PMSC’s to submit their application’.
2. This Administration encourages all Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSC) to comply with the requirements listed on Resolution No.106-13- DGMM to be able to offer their services of Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel onboard Panamanian flagged vessels. For the English version of Res.No.106-13-DGMM, please click here. – For the Spanish version of Res.No.106-13-DGMM, please click here.
3. The Applications from the Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSC) must be submitted to the Directorate General of Merchant Marine through a Legal Representative in Panama.
4. The Panama Maritime Authority shall not issue authorizations for vessels contracting services from companies which are not duly authorized by this Administration after October 3rd. In the meantime all authorizations to carry armed personnel will be issued following the guidelines listed in our MMC 228.

1. This Circular has the purpose to inform users, according to Merchant Marine Circular MMC-243, about the list of Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSC) authorized by this Administration to offer their services as Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel onboard Panamanian flagged vessels transiting High Risk Areas.
2. The Panama Maritime Authority has recognized the following companies as PMSC:
3. Each Private Maritime Security Company authorized should notify by formal letter or mail and also submit the required documents to the Maritime Ships Security Department of any inclusion or changes in armed personnel or inventory of weapons, according to requirements established in Resolution 106-13- DGMM ; Article Fourth, Number Fifth.
4. This Administration encourages all Private Maritime Security Companies to meet the requirements established in Resolution No. 106-13-DGMM by October 3rd, 2012 as the latest, in order to get approval for offering their services of Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel for Panamanian flagged vessels.
5. All Panamanian flagged vessels contracting Authorized Private Maritime Security Companies only need to submit Bilateral Agreement duly signed by PMSC and vessel’s representative and passport copies of Authorized Armed Security Personnel in order grant authorization from Flag State each time they need Armed Security on board.