Lifeboat and davit manufacturer Schat-Harding has put in place a key new facility in its global service network with the acquisition of Panama Maritime Support Inc. The Panama-based independent lifeboat service company will form the basis of an expanded service facility able to provide Original Equipment Manufacturer lifeboat and davit service to all vessels trading to Central and South America.

Gary Joseph, president of Schat-Harding Americas, says, "Our new Panama-based service station will provide owners with a major new resource, covering not only Schat-Harding brands but boats and davits of the many other manufacturers for which Panama Maritime Support is authorised. We will expand the new base with more engineers and equipment and link it to our SHIELD database and spares network. During 2008 we will station a CleanHull machine and crew there. Ships will be able to get full and safe lifeboat service and an environmentally friendly hull clean, at a key transit location."

The Panama facility will be expanded to provide Spanish-speaking coverage of the whole of Latin America, with engineers trained initially at Schat-Harding's school in Norway, and from 2008, at the new school which is being established at Schat-Harding's Americas headquarters in New Iberia, Louisiana.

Schat-Harding's owned and authorised service network now covers 60 countries and deploys over 350 people to ensure LSA systems are correctly serviced. In addition to the many Schat-Harding brands, Schat-Harding's network now holds authorisations from over 25 other current lifeboat and davit original manufacturers, enabling it to provide Original Equipment Manufacturer service in line with IMO requirements to vessels with multi-brand and mixed equipment.