Panama Canal – Quick Reference (Regulations)

Panama Canal – Quick Reference (Regulations)

Maximum Draft

The maximum permissible draft for Canal transits has been set at 39.5 feet (12.04 m) Tropical Fresh Water (TFW). Gatun Lake density is 0.9954 gms/cc at 85°F (29.4°C) deepest point of immersion/load line permitting to those vessels previously approved to transit at this draft.

NOTE: Not all vessels are allowed to transit at a draft of 39’06” (12.04m) TFW. Some vessels due to hull configuration has restricted draft. Please approach this office to ensure your vessel is approved to transit at published draft.

Minimum Draft (vessels in ballast) All vessels transiting the Canal should have sufficient ballast to permit safe handling during transit LOA / Minimum Drafts Up to 425′ (129.54 m) – Trimmed so pilot can see the ranges over the forecastle from center of the Navigation Bridge

Visibility Restrictions

All vessels arriving for transit must report their Blind Distance calculated for Tropical Salt Water at conning positions 1, 2 and 3.

The “Blind Distance” is the forward distance from the bow of the vessel to the closest point on the water’s surface which can be seen from all conning positions in the navigation bridge. An observer’s height of eye of 1.80 meters above the bridge deck must be used to determine this distance, and must be reported in ship lengths. The Blind Distance at conning position #1 is not applicable to vessels with centerline cranes.

All transiting vessels or vessels calling at port facilities in Canal waters, whether laden or ballast, shall comply with the following visibility requirements:

Radar

Ships of 10,000 gross tonnage (ITC69) and over shall be fitted with two (02) properly functioning radar installations, each capable of being operated simultaneously with and independently of the other.

Gyro

Ships of 500 gross tons (ITC69) and over shall be fitted with a gyro compass. The master gyro compass or a gyro repeater shall be clearly readable by the helmsman from the main conning position. On ships of 1,600 gross tonnage (ITC69) and over, a gyro repeater or gyro repeaters shall be provided and shall be suitably placed for taking bearings as nearly as practicable over an arc of the horizon of 360 deg. A gyro repeater shall be provided which shall be readily visible and useable by the pilot from Conning Position 1. Maximum residual steady state gyro error shall not exceed 2 deg.

Propeller revolution tachometer indicators

On vessels 80 feet (24.38 m) or more in beam, at least one for each propeller located inside the wheelhouse and one for each propeller located on each bridge wing, of such design and placement so that at least one can be easily read by day or night from each conning position.

Controllable pitch propeller indicators

On vessels 80 feet (24.38 m) or more in beam, at least one for each propeller located inside the wheelhouse and one for each propeller located design and placement so that at least one can be easily read by day or night from each conning position.

Mooring ropes

Vessels are required to have on deck (positioned in drum) six manila or synthetic mooring lines forward and six aft in good conditions prior to commencing transit. The size and strength suitable for the vessel to dock, moor at a lock approach wall or secure in a lock chamber are the vessel’s responsibility. The master shall inform the Boarding Officer whether or not the vessel complies with the above, so that he may advise Maritime Traffic Control Unit. Wire ropes and ropes composed of both wire and fiber or filaments, are not acceptable for Canal operations and shall not be used. These lines are required to be on deck prior to commencing transit and ready for immediate use. Each line shall be at least 250 feet (75 m) in length and shall have an eye of at least five feet (1.50 m) spliced in one end. If one of these lines is 500 feet (150 m) or more in length with an eye in each end, it will qualify as two lines for the purpose of this requirement. They shall be in good condition. Noncompliance with this requirement could result in transit delay.

Winches / Anchors

All mooring winches shall be capable of retrieving the lines used for pulling the locomotive wires onboard at a rate of 120 feet (37 meters) per minute. The master shall inform the ACP Boarding Officer whether or not the vessel complies with this requirement. Additional Canal deckhands or other resources may be assigned in case of winches are not working or are with limited capabilities. Anchors shall be retrieved at a rate of 3 minutes per shot (27 meters).

Mag compass

Max deviation observed should not exceed 7 degrees. Calibration cards issued and signed by the master will be accepted as long as the deviation is less than 6 degrees. Calibration must have been done by a recognized calibration authority, and an accurate deviation table issued, within the previous 12-month period.

Pilot shelters

All vessels whose extreme beam is 80 feet (24.38 m) or more are required to provide bridge wing shelter platforms for the protection of control pilots at Conning Positions No. 4 and 5. Alternate arrangements, including portable shelters, which provide equivalent or better protection and visibility, may be acceptable.

PCSOPEP

Any toll-paying vessel that will transit the Panama Canal with a 400 Metric Ton (MT) or more carrying capacity of oil as cargo and/or fuel must present a PCSOPEP not less than 96 hours prior to the vessel’s arrival at Panama Canal waters. A vessel holding a verified plan does not have to resubmit a PCSOPEP for subsequent transits, unless it is requested by the ACP or it becomes invalidated.

EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 2007, VESSELS FAILING TO SUBMIT A COMPLIANT PCSOPEP AT LEAST 96 HOURS PRIOR TO ARRIVAL AT CANAL WATERS WILL BE CLASSIFIED AS NON-COMPLIANT AND WILL NO LONGER BE GRANTED A GRACE PERIOD. UNDER SUCH CONDITION, THE VESSEL WILL BE SCHEDULED AS TIER 3 AND WILL BE CHARGED ACCORDINGLY, AS WELL AS FOR ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ASSIGNED TO THE VESSEL DUE TO THIS NON-COMPLIANCE. IN ADDITION, THE VESSEL WILL ONLY BE PROGRAMED FOR TRANSIT AFTER THE SHIP OWNERS, OPERATORS OR SHIPPING AGENT HAVE PAID OR PROVIDED SATISFACTORY GUARANTEES FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE APPLICABLE SANCTION, WHICH WILL BE SET AT A MINIMUM OF USD$2,500.00. SUBSEQUENT ARRIVALS TO PANAMA CANAL WATERS UNDER SIMILAR NONCOMPLIANCE CONDITIONS WILL GENERATE INCREASED SANCTIONS THAT MAY RESULT IN DENIAL OF TRANSIT.

Rudder response

The main steering gear and rudder stock shall be capable of putting the rudder over from 35 deg. on one side to 35 deg. on the other side with the ship at its deepest seagoing draught and running ahead at maximum ahead service speed and, under the same conditions, from 35 deg. on either side to 30 deg. on the other side in not more than 28 seconds.

Steering Light

All vessels over 100 meters (328 feet) in length shall have installed, at or near the stem, a fixed blue transit light, which shall be clearly visible from the bridge, along the center line. If said transit light so placed would be partially or completely obstructed, then two such transit lights must be installed at an equal distance from the center line, and shall be clearly visible along lines parallel thereto.

VESSEL MUST REPORT ETA TO PANAMA CANAL WATERS WITH MORE THAN 96 HOURS PRIOR HER ARRIVAL ACCORDING TO SECURITY CODE. VESSELS ARRIVING IN LESS THAN 96 PRIOR TO HER ACTUAL ARRIVAL TIME WILL BE CONSIDERED AS “ARRIVED” FOR SCHEDULING PURPOSES EXACT 96 HRS AFTER THE ETA NOTICE WAS INSERTED ON THE PAN CANAL SYSTEM THEREFORE THIS MIGHT BRING ADDITIONAL DELAYS FOR TRANSIT TO THE VESSEL.

Pre arrival Information

EDCS forms or Electronic froms must be filled out and provided to the agent at least 5 days prior to arrival in order to be submitted on time (more than 96 hrs before arrival) in order to get Radio Pratique Granted and avoid delys to start any additional operation to the tranist such as crew change, deliveries, repairs, bunkering etc.

Transit Prospect and Schedule

There are two options of transit, the Regular Transit (line up) and the Booking Transit.

Transit program is published by the Panama Canal Authorities normally one day in advance.

Preparation to Arrival

 

PORT SECURITY AND CONTACTS

PANAMA CANAL AUTHORITIES (ACP)

Cristobal Port Captain

E-mail: OPTN-CP1@pancanal.com

Phone: (507)443-2201 Fax: (507)443-2213

Balboa Port Captain

Email: OPTS-CP1@pancanal.com

Phone: (507)272-4215 Fax: (507)272-7688

Traffic Management Unit

Phone: (507)272-4220 Fax: (507)272-3976

E-mail: ETA@pancanal.com

ACP Chemists for Dangerous

Cargo Phone: (507)272-4112/4219 Fax: (507)272-3015

E-mail: mrtc-ch1@pancanal.com

PANAMA CANAL SECURITY OFFICER

Name: Juan Hector Diaz (PCSO) Antonio Michel – ALTERNATE

Sergio A. Rodriguez – ALTERNATE

E-mail: ACP-ISPS@pancanal.com

Phone: (507)276-3669/276-3227 Fax: (507)2764777

SECURITY LEVEL: 1