PANAMA CITY, Panama, August 16, 2006 – Representatives from more than 70 countries have gathered in Panama this week for the 15th annual Marine Accident Investigators’ International Forum (MAIIF) meeting. Organized by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) together with the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP), the conference enables participants to share best practices related to the investigation of maritime accidents and promote increased communication among accident investigators worldwide.

During the conference, MAIIF acknowledged the Panama Canal’s commitment to reducing maritime accidents. ACP Captain Miguel Rodríguez, who helped to organize the meeting, said, “This conference is an excellent venue to discuss and analyze maritime accident investigation best practices. Thanks to some dynamic and innovative work done by ACP employees, the ACP has reduced accidents at the Canal.”

The meeting was inaugurated by Second Vice President of the Republic of Panama and concurrent AMP Administrator Ruben Arosemena; ACP Administrator and CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta; and President of the MAIIF Doug Rabe.

“Safety is of utmost importance to the Canal. The MAIIF meeting provides an opportunity for maritime accident investigators from around the world to share their knowledge. It is essential to collaborate with the international maritime industry to improve transit safety and to prevent future accidents,” said ACP Administrator and CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta.

The MAIIF is an international, non-profit organization that was established in Ottawa, Canada, in June 1992. It is dedicated to the improvement of maritime safety through the exchange of information, experiences and ideas obtained in the investigation of maritime accidents. Panama and Japan serve as co-assistant chairs of MAIIF. The United States serves as Chair and Finland as Deputy Chair.

About the Panama Canal Authority
The Panama Canal Authority is the autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the Panama Canal Authority is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors. For more information, please refer to the Panama Canal Authority’s Web site:

The Authority’s responsibility to the Panamanian people is paramount. The Canal belongs to the people and benefits from the Canal should accrue to as many Panamanians as possible. The Authority will plan its future so that it will continually contribute to the economic development and welfare of the citizens of Panama.