Maritime Labour and Safety of Life at Sea in question with 3-month extension of vessels flagged to Panama

The world's largest flag state, Panama, has elected to permit ships operating under its registry to extend contracts by another three months for seafarers currently still serving on-board vessels since before COVID-19-related travel restrictions were imposed.

The Maritime Labour Convention stipulates entitlement to repatriation after a period aboard not exceeding 12 months, and risks to health and well-being of seafarers is being called into question. This subsequently leads to increased risk for vessels at large, as well as their service areas, and labour rights representatives are broadly expressing concern.