Marine Accident Investigation


About us  ↑Top

By Board of Directors Resolution No. 006-2007 of September 17, 2007, the new organizational Structure of The Merchant Marine General Directorate integrating among others, the Marine Accidents Investigation Department which is in charge of the investigations of marine casualties and incidents, as well as acts of piracy and armed robber, suffered by Panamanian Flag Vessels, as well as occurring within our territorial waters regardless of the vessel’s flag, which might pose a risk to human life or the environment, or has caused loss of life, marine pollution or property damage or involving search and rescue authorities of the State or any other event that needs to be investigated.

Likewise all our staff are highly trained and have experience in nautical engineering disciplines, and contingency plans. Also, the DIAM has the administrative staff in charge of the financial aspects, nominations, files, data analysis and publications, providing general support to researchers in every single phase of administrative inquires, preliminary reports and thorough investigations.

Objective ↑Top

Our objective is conducting research on Maritime Safety Casualties and Incidents directly related to the operation of the vessel, as well as acts of piracy and armed robbery occurring on board Panamanian flag vessels, and in our territorial waters regardless of the vessel flag. The investigation will determine the causes and factors of the accident and marine incident which contributed to the causes and make relevant recommendations in order to prevent hazardous situations and similar threats in the future. Our guidelines are based on Nº106-135-DGMM resolution of September 9, 2013 of the Panama Maritime Authority, Resolution MSC. 255 (84), adopted on May 16, 2008 and Resolution A.1025 (26) adopted on December 2, 2009.

What is a Marine Casualty  ↑Top

A marine casualty means an event, or a sequence of events, that has resulted in any of the following which has occurred directly in connection with the operations of a ship:

1. the death of, or serious injury to, a person;

2. the loss of a person from a ship;

3. the loss, presumed loss or abandonment of a ship;

4. material damage to a ship;

5. the stranding or disabling of a ship, or the involvement of a ship in a collision;

6. material damage to marine infrastructure external to a ship, that could seriously endanger the safety of the ship, another ship or an individual; or

7. severe damage to the environment, or the potential for severe damage to the environment, brought about by the damage of a ship or ships.

However, a marine casualty does not include a deliberate act or omission, with the intention to cause harm to the safety of a ship, an individual or the environment.

Human Factor ↑Top

Human factor research is generally focused on the analysis of human cognitive abilities and limitations. This includes constructs such as attention, memory, decision-making, action, skilled performance, and stress. Greater understanding of this area enables us to reduce errors and accidents caused by technology. It also helps investigators understand how accidents happen and assists in determining suitable recommendations

How to report a Marine Accident or Casualty ↑Top

Which accidents need to be reported?

All marine accidents and incidents that threaten life at sea and the pollution of the marine environment need to be reported to the Marine Accident Investigation Department (DIAM) by Captains, Operators, Owners, Recognized Organizations, Legal Representatives, Panama Canal, Segumar and State Coastal Administrations. These accidents may be notify by the most efficient possible way such as emails, faxes and phone calls.

These notifications should be send by filling out our preliminary report form available at our department.


In addition, should be sent completely filled to Marine Accident Investigation Department the following formats:


Eng. Daniel Jaramillo

Chief of Marine Accident Investigation Department

Telephone: (507) 501-5039


Eng. Gonzalo Cortés

Deputy Chief of Marine Accident Investigation Department

Telephone: (507) 501-5087