Panama Canal September draft restrictions cancelled

Panama Canal September draft restrictions cancelled

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) on Friday cancelled some ship draft restrictions planned for September as recent much-needed heavy rainfall eased worries about the ability of mega-ships to traverse the waterway at full capacity.

As Splash247 reported on August 24 the Canal authorities were already moving in this direction by postponing further draft restrictions because of increased rainfall there.

Now continued rainfall has led the ACP to say further draft restrictions from the middle of next month have been lifted.

On August 14 the ACP had given notice that from September 8 the maximum authorised transit draft would be set at 11.89 metres Tropical Fresh Water (TFW) with the option for further restriction to as low as 11.73m by September 16 depending on conditions.

Usually such draft restrictions do not bar ships entirely from accessing the Canal but do significantly reduce the weight in cargo they can carry.

But Friday’s decision means ships will be able to continue using the Canal at the deeper approved maximum draft of 12.04m.

ACP will continue to monitor the situation, however.

The draft concerns were initially a product of anticipated effects from the El Nino weather phenomenon resulting from above-average Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures.

Commonly the effect of El Nino in the Canal region is less rainfall, causing lower water levels in the artificial lakes on which Canal operations depend.

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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