1055 - 08/15 - New Draft Restrictions, Panama Canal - Panama

UPDATE: On 28th August 2015 the Association has been further advised that the reduction of the draft restrictions for Panama Canal has been suspended. Therefore, and until further notice, vessels will continue to be allowed to transit at their maximum Panama Canal approved draft up to 12.04 meters (35.9 feet) TFW.

UPDATE: On 21st August after publication we have been advised that the second draft restriction up to 38.5 feet, scheduled for 15 September 2015, has been postponed due to the recent rain in the area.


Further to our Bulletin 1051, we have been advised that the new draft restrictions for Panama Canal will be effective from 8 September 2015.

The maximum permitted transit draft for the Panama Canal is set to 11.89 meters (39.0 feet) Tropical Fresh Water (TFW).

Vessels loaded prior 11 August 2015 may be allowed to transit with a TFW draft of up to 12.04 meters (39.5 feet), subject to safety considerations.  Vessels loaded on or after 11 August 2015, must comply with the new restriction and may be required to trim or offload cargo, depending on the actual level of Gatun Lake at the time of the transit. If the lake level allows the transit of vessels at a draft deeper than announced, they will be allowed to transit despite not complying with the loading deadline.

The 28 days of warning is specifically directed at vessels that are loading in distant ports to adjust their cargo loading plans, allowing them to comply with the draft restriction once they complete their lengthy trip and arrive to Panama Canal waters.

Vessels may load to drafts deeper than 11.89 meters (39.0 feet) up to 12.04 meters (39.5 feet) after 11 August 2015 provided that they transit prior to 8 September 2015.

It is anticipated that the maximum authorised transit draft may be further reduced to 11.73 meters (38.5 feet) TFW on 15 September 2015. Implementation of this further reduction, if approved, will be further advised.

Source of Information

C. Fernie & Co. S. A.
Email: ferniepi@cfernie.com

Industry developments

Polar Shipping

Legal, navigational and environmental resources, news and updates on the development of polar shipping. Read more

US VRP Compliance

With effect from 30th January 2014 non-tank as well as tankships calling at US ports will be required to submit VRPs.  For Club and other resources to assist in compliance click here

International Environmental compliance

Environmental Compliance resource page collates material in respect of International environmental compliance issues affecting our Members. Information from the Club, Loss Prevention and external resources has been collated in one place for ease of reference.

MLC 2006

The Maritime Labour Convention enters into force in August 2013 - resources, news & advice on implementation can be found in this dedicated section.  READ MORE

International sanctions

Recent guidance & corresponding material in respect of international sanctions against various countries has been updated with respect to temporary easing of sanctions against Iran.  READ MORE


Essential precautions and preparation against piracy, as well as additional information and resources, loss prevention advisories and useful external web links

Emergency Contacts

If you need to call our offices out of hours and at weekends, click After Office hours for a up to date list of the names of the Duty Executives and their mobile phone numbers. 

Ship Finder

This Ship Finder is updated on a daily basis. Members who need to advise the Club of updates to their recorded ships' details should advise their usual underwriting contact.