Panama Canal Authority to tighten draft restriction to 43 feet
By Marieke Alsguth / Platts
Petroleumworld 05 07 2019
The Panama Canal Authority announced a new maximum draft restriction of 43 feet, or 13.11 meters, the sixth since January, in the Gatun Lakes, which will come into effect May 28.
The current maximum draft is set at 44 feet, or 13.41 meters, which came into effect April 30 and was announced April 1.
The continued tightening of draft restrictions in the Gatun Lakes are based on the projected precipitation and water levels of the lake in the coming weeks. Further draft adjustments would be announced in 12-inch, or 30.5-cm, decrements, with advance notice of four weeks, the ACP said Friday.
Ships arriving after May 28 with drafts exceeding the 43-foot level may be allowed to transit, depending on the Gatun Lakes' water level at the time, according to the ACP. If water levels are too low, ships with drafts exceeding the maximum allowable draft must trim or offload cargo in order to make transit.
Aframax and Long Range 2 vessels, which have a maximum draft of 14.9 meters when fully laden, will not be able to transit the Neopanamax Locks at the 13.11-meter restriction.
Suezmaxes, when fully laden, cannot transit the canal at a 43-foot draft, as tankers of this class usually require a 50-foot draft for a full 1 million-barrel cargo of 43 API crude.
For dry bulk, Neopanamax and Capesize ships cannot transit the canal at a 43-foot (14.33-meter) draft, as they require maximum drafts of 15 meters and 20 meters, respectively.
Clean Medium Range and Long Range 1 tankers, dirty Panamax tankers and all LNG tanker classes can transit fully laden at the restricted 43-foot (14.33-meter) draft. Handysize, Supramax and Ultramax, and Panamax size dry bulk carriers, with maximum drafts of 10 meters, 11 meters and 12 meters, respectively, will be able to pass through the restricted 13.11-meter maximum draft.
The Neopanamax locks are designed to allow ships with a draft up to 50 feet, or 15.2 meters, to transit. The maximum draft restrictions are based off the deepest point of Gatun Lake in tropical fresh water at a density of 0.9954 at 29.4 degrees Celsius (85 degrees Fahrenheit).
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Story by Marieke Alsguth ; Edited by Richard Rubin from Platts / SPGlobal.
spglobal.com 05 06 2019
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