THE United Filipino Seafarers (UFS) welcomes the newly-installed Panama Administrator and Minister of Maritime Affairs Noriel Arauz.
Citing statement from its president, Engr. Nelson Ramirez said his organization, with more than 56,000 members, is pleased to embrace Arauz as the new head of Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) that oversees the maritime sector and the world’s largest Ship Registry.
“Panama has been our partner in giving employment to our thousands of seafarers. We hope that Mr. Arauz will continue making policies that would benefit Filipino merchants,” according to Ramirez.
Panama has the world’s largest fleet of ships registered under its flag, with Filipino seafarers making up around 60 percent of its workforce.
Around 3,000 to 4,000 Filipinos reportedly apply to work on board Panamanian-registered vessels every month.
Ramirez furthered that they hope Panama, through its Ambassador to the Philippines, Amb. Rolando Guevara Alvarado, will continue securing stints for Filipino sailors to its fleets worldwide.
Arauz, a naval architect, is praised for good technical knowledge and his appointment has been applauded by the local maritime sector.
He will be accompanied by nautical engineer Samuel Ferreira as deputy administrator; and at the direction of merchant marine and head of the Ship Registry by nautical engineer Rafael Cigarruista.
Cigarruista has a wealth of experience in Casualty Investigation, Flag Inspection, Classification, Certification of Vessels and STCW (seafarers) requirements, having worked previously in different areas all related to the flag implementation requirements and responsibilities.
“My priority is to make sure we respect international conventions, be ready for the Sulphur Cap of 2020 since we have an important bunker sector, maintain our flag position in the White List of Paris MoU and continue to give our Ship Registry customers a good and efficient service. We have also to work in preparation to receive the Audit of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) which measures Panama’s compliance with the OMI Compulsory Instruments, which must be carried out in the year 2021,” according to Arauz.