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After Egypt ferry disaster, Panama stresses oversight of ship inspectors - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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PANAMA CITY, Panama (AP) – Panama’s shipping registry is tightening oversight of the companies that inspect its ships after an Egyptian ferry sank last week killing 1,000 people, authorities said Thursday.

Panama’s Maritime Authority commissions private companies to perform inspections of ships bearing Panamanian registry, like the ‘Al-Salaam Boccaccio 98’ ferry that sank Feb. 3.

“This is an oversight procedure to find out whether these (inspection) companies are properly certifying ships,” said Fernando Solorzano, the authority’s director.

The authority had reviewed the work of four companies last year and has decided to extend the program, which Solorzano hopes will “strengthen and improve the reputation of our registry.”

Last week, a fire broke out on an aging Egyptian ferry before it sank in the Red Sea. Investigators were still working to determine the fire’s connection to the sinking.

Panama has one of the largest ship registries in the world, and is widely considered a “flag of convenience” because of the country’s low registration costs and requirements.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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