On February 10, the Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Panama Stewart Tuttle and the Panamanian Minister of Public Security Juan Pino signed a memorandum of understanding between both countries aimed at continuing U.S. assistance to Panamanian security forces that operate at sea, including equipment and technical training. The signed memorandum refers to the Joint Maritime Force of Panama (FMCP, in Spanish) and the Regional Center for Aeronaval Operations (CROAN, in Spanish), both operating under the Ministry of Public Security.
The maritime security agreement seeks to provide support to Panama in guaranteeing the presence and surveillance of Panamanian security forces in its territorial waters to deter illicit activities, such as drug trafficking and illegal fishing, as well as to support search and rescue operations at sea.
During the signing ceremony, Chief of Mission Tuttle delivered to the Ministry of Public Safety, on behalf of the U.S. government, a 37-foot Boston Whaler speedboat and tactical equipment for officers assigned to surveillance tasks at sea.
“I thank Minister Pino for his leadership and vision in developing the CROAN, and for increasing coordination between the security forces under the Joint Maritime Force. Panama has proven to be a regional leader in the fight against narcotrafficking, seizing more drugs than any other country in Central America. The U.S. is committed to Panama in maintaining security for Panamanians and the region,” the head of the U.S. diplomatic mission said during the ceremony.
In the last five years, the U.S. has donated six Boston Whaler speedboats, valued at more than $4 million, to Panamanian security forces. This support is part of the more than $225 million that the U.S. government has donated to Panama in the last five years, seeking to strengthen the Panamanian response to transnational organized crime threats.