Monday, December 8, 2014

World's Largest Flag State Adopts Risk Management System in Battle Against Ebola

New Compliance Programme to Protect Panama from Wide Ranging Threats
Shipping News Feature

PANAMA – With the shipping world keeping half an eye open to happenings centred around the Panama Canal as the new lock gates are readied to ensure ever larger container ships and bulk freight carriers can use the waterway, the management body responsible, the Panama Maritime Authority (PMA), has become the first port state to use Pole Star’s PurpleTRAC sanctions compliance and risk management service as part of its wider port risk management strategy and as a precaution against the outbreak of Ebola.

PurpleTRAC is a comprehensive economic sanctions compliance and risk management service used by a wide range of interested parties from banks to vessel owners to ensure best practice as regards the reputational and criminal risk associated with such practices as money laundering and terrorism. Now, as part of the PMA’s risk management strategy, all ships intending to enter a Panamanian port, some 9,000 port calls every year, are required to post arrival data via their agent into the PMA’s system.

In an enhancement to that process, the PMA will use PurpleTRAC to screen port arrivals and Panama Canal transits to ensure compliance against a comprehensive range of economic sanctions and blacklisted ports. Crucially, PurpleTRAC will also provide Ebola-risk warnings for any ships that have visited countries where the World Health Organisation (WHO) deems the outbreak of Ebola severe, currently the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

Where a vessel is found to have called at any of these countries within the last 90 days, an automatic system/operator alert will trigger an enhanced ship inspection by the PMA, the Panama Coast Guard and the Ministry of Health. Andrew Peters, Chief Executive Officer of Pole Star commented:

“We are delighted to work with the Panama Maritime Authority, the largest flag in the world, to deliver the tools they need to expand and strengthen their risk management strategy. This highlights the flag’s willingness to adopt innovative solutions to create best management practice. It is also further validation of Pole Star’s market leading technology and product delivery capability bringing tangible benefits to the maritime industry.”

Ebola is obviously, quite correctly, a current headline grabber but the management system offers much more than this. In a downloadable infographic, Pole Star claims that in the third quarter of 2014, 60% of vessels screened returned warnings which warranted further investigations, 21% of tracked vessels made incursions into sanctioned zones, whilst 21 ships or associated companies examined were found to have connections with sanctioned states, Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) or Specially Designated Nationals and ‘Blocked Persons’ (SDNs).