Recent draft restrictions for vessels transiting the Panama Canal, which were scheduled to begin on May 9, have been pushed back to May 25 the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced on Wednesday.
The reason for the deferral is that rainfall in the Canal watershed has improved water levels in the Gatun Lake, on which the Canal depends.
The planned May 9 restriction was the third in a recent series sparked by water-level concerns arising from El Nino weather effects which meant significantly less rainfall in the Canal area.
Usually the maximum allowable draft for ships using the inter-oceanic shortcut is 39.5 feet (12.03m).
That was reduced to 39 feet (11.89 m) with the first recent restriction, effective on April 18.
The second restriction cut the maximum draft to 38.5 feet (11.74 m) effective from April 29. And this latest one brought the maximum draft down to 38 feet (11.59m).