The Panama Canal, through its inspection and control personnel, has the function of ensuring compliance with the Health and Prevention of Contagious Diseases Regulations within the waters of the Panama Canal.
These inspections for contagion risk issues have been carried out for many years, and they are carried out on 100% of the ships that arrive in jurisdictional waters of the Panama Canal.
The existing controls are:
The ship is required to report its conditions on board, and currently, it does so through the Single Maritime Window of Panama (VUMPA). In case of non-compliance and / or giving false information, it is subject to penalties and / or restrictions.
- The archer of the Panama Canal embarks and confirms the 9 questions included in the Maritime Health Declaration through a form previously completed in the VUMPA.
- Once on board, he questions the captain or officer in charge again to confirm that at the moment there are no patients on board or someone with related symptoms.
- In such case, there is any positive response, and depending on the symptoms, it is concluded that there is a possibility of some relevant disease, the MINSA Maritime Health is called to board, and while this is happening, boarding and disembarking are prohibited. of people and the yellow flag unfolds, which denotes quarantine to the ship.
- Once inspected by MINSA, we proceed depending on the results.
For the specific case of COVID-19, additional measures have been taken:
- The ship must report to MINSA when crew changes occur in the last 14 days coming from ports with COVID-19 cases.
- The archer of the Panama Canal calls by radio before boarding the ship, confirming again if they are all healthy on board and if they have had any recent crew change.
- Masks and alcohol gel have been offered to staff.
- Permanent communication is maintained with the MINSA Maritime Health doctors.
- The MINSA sent a communication to all the shipping companies, which obliges them to report anyone who has symptoms of the disease, regardless of whether or not they are related to COVID-19.