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Panama Canal further reduces maximum draught for new locks

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has announced that, based on the present and projected level of Gatun Lake for the following weeks, it will be further reducing the draught for the new locks.

Effective from 27 February 2019, the maximum authorised draught for vessels transiting the neo-panamax locks will be 14.63 metres (48.0 feet) TFW, down from the 14.94 metres (49 feet) draught that will be effective 11 February.

The ACP began reducing the maximum draught a first time early this month because of low rainfall registered in the Panama Canal watershed during December 2018, around 90% below the historical average has caused water levels in Gatun and Madden Lakes to drop below the expected levels for this time of the year.

Vessels arriving with draughts over 14.63 metres (48.0 feet) TFW may be allowed to transit past 27 February 2019, depending on the actual level of Gatun Lake at the time of transit. Otherwise, they will be required to trim or off-load cargo in order to be allowed to transit.

Draught adjustments will be announced in 30.5cm (12 inch) decrements, generally with at least four weeks advance notice.