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Panama to fine ships $10,000 for turning off location systems

Christian Fernsby |
Panama's Maritime Authority said it will impose sanctions on vessels, including fines of up to $10,000 and withdrawing its flag from the ship, if they deliberately deactivate, tamper or alter the operation of their tracking transponders.

The issue of ships disabling tracking equipmenthas come to the fore in recent months as a method employed by vessels seeking to avoid U.S. sanctions for shipping Iranian oil.

"This General Directorate of Merchant Marine will impose sanctions to all those Panamanian flagged vessels that deliberately deactivate, tamper or alter the operation of Long Range Identification and Tracking System or the Automatic Identification System," it said in a statement.

Panama has the largest shipping fleet in the world with some 8,000 vessels registered.

The Panama Maritime Authority said it is constantly monitoring its fleet and it will initiate an internal investigation if it detects a vessel's transponder is down or not reporting.

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