Panama City. On Wednesday, the director of the Panama Maritime Authority, Nouriel Ariz, said that during the invasion of Ukraine, three civilian ships flying the Panamanian flag were hit by Russian missiles, causing one of the ships to sank.
“We know we have three (Panama-flagged) ships that have been attacked by Russian missiles, but the crew is fine,” Ares told reporters at a public event.
The official added that of the three boats, “one sank (and) two are still afloat with material damage” after the attacks.
Araz also denounced that the “Russian Navy” does not allow 200-300 ships from around the world “to leave the Black Sea.”
Among these ships, there are twelve Panama-flagged vessels, mainly for transporting grain, and about 150 crew members of different nationalities, according to Araz.
Panama claims to have the world’s largest registry of ships, with about 8,000 ships, which represents 17% of the global fleet.
On February 25, after the first attack on a Panama-flagged ship, the authorities of the Central American country “strongly” asked to avoid crossing into Ukrainian and Russian waters in the Black and Azov seas.
The Panama Maritime Authority warned at the time: “For those Panamanian ships in Ukrainian ports or passing through the former area, they should exercise the utmost vigilance and increase security conditions on board to protect the ship and crew.”