NOVEMBER 13, 2012 — U.K.-based maritime security specialist Ambrey Risk has become one of the first maritime security companies to be granted official accreditation by the Panama Maritime Authority allowing it to provide armed and unarmed escort guards on Panamanian-flagged vessels transiting piracy high risk areas.
A recent change of law in Panama now requires all private maritime security companies (PMSCs) serving Panamanian flagged ships to be accredited by the Panama Maritime Authority.
Business Management Director James Gasson-Hargreaves commented: "At Ambrey Risk, we intend to set the benchmark for regulatory compliance and professionalism in maritime security, so achieving this accreditation highlights our constant stride for compliance - and reassures customers with the confidence that Ambrey adheres to the highest standards of professionalism recognized in both the U.K, and internationally."
The stringent review process of the Panamanian Administration was overseen by the Directorate General of Merchant Marine and vetted by a special board of experts from the Panama Maritime Authority.
Mr. Gasson-Hargreaves continued: "With this new law, all the paperwork will be with the authorities, and therefore granting approval for a team to come aboard can be achieved swiftly and efficiently We congratulate the Panamanian authorities for taking this positive step in its determination to ensure to shipowners and operators guarantee that only reputable companies with sound infrastructure are employed on board Panamanian registered ships."
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has 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. A recent IMO MSC circular also 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 Panama's 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 assessed by a competent administration. This promises to be an advance in aiding shipping companies to identify reliable, professional private providers of armed security.
John Thompson, Commercial Director of Ambrey Risk, added: "We always aim to keep abreast of new regulations, and Panama-flagged vessels are very important to us, so we are pleased that this accreditation award will show we are staying agile and responsive to the needs of shipping and their account management with our own uncompromising standards and attention to detail. We would particularly like to thank Mrs Maria Dixon of ISM Shipping for her knowledge and sound advice in helping us manage the changes that have been brought into force by the Panamanian authorities."