Panama was one of the largest Ship Registries that had not ratified WREC when it entered force on 14 April this year.
The convention requires all ships over 300gt (including fishing vessels and commercials yachts) to have in place insurance to cover the location, marking and removal of a wreck, deemed to be a hazard in the convention area of states that are party to the convention. It is also required, under the principal of no more favourable treatment that all ships carry insurance and Wreck Removal certificates on board starting on 14 April, 2015.
Panama, at the time, issued a circular urging all ship owners/managers or representatives of Panama-flagged vessels to follow the procedures set up by the Panama Maritime Authority. The circular establishes that Panama “will only recognise those certificates that are issued by the maritime administrations of UK, Palau and the Cook Islands".
“It is an important step for Panama in support of the international compensation regime,“ said Fernando Solorzano, director the Panama Maritime Authority Merchant Marine and head of the Panama Ship Registry. “We will recognise the certificates issued by other maritime authorities this year and will begin to issue our own certificates from the date the agreement, for Panama, officially enters force," he explained.