Latest Panama Canal draft restrictions pushed back again

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has deferred once more the planned third recent draft restriction on vessels using the inter-oceanic waterway.

The new effective date for the restriction will be June 6.

This is the second postponement of the latest restriction, following one last week on May 4, which pushed back the commencement date from May 9 to May 25.

Both recent deferrals have been caused by improved water levels in Gatun Lake and predictions of increased rainfall in the area. Gatun Lake’s water levels have a direct effect on the Canal’s.

This recent round of draft restrictions has arisen because of the effects of the El Nino weather phenomenon, which have included reduced rainfall in the Canal area for this time of year.

Usually the maximum allowable draft for ships using the Canal 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) but it has yet to take effect.


Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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