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Panama Canal vessel limit returns

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Panama Canal vessel limit returns

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has put into place draft restrictions for vessels transiting the interoceanic waterway due to drought.

Starting April 18 the maximum transit draft is set at 11.89m Tropical Fresh Water (TFW), defined as the deepest point of TFW immersion for vessels in Gatun lake, the ACP said in a statement.

"Vessels loaded to drafts over 11.89m prior to or on March 21, will have their draft restriction waived for transit, subject to safety considerations," it added

Vessels loaded after March 21 must adhere to the draft restriction.

In the event of further restrictions, which would be implemented in 15cm decrements, a minimum one-month notice would be given, the ACP said.

The restrictions are brought on by the El Niño-induced drought that is being felt in the Panama Canal watershed, which has drastically diminished water levels in the Gatun and Alhajuela lakes.

Last August the ACP issued an identical draft restriction, although the measure was lifted weeks later.

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