846 - 09/12 - Fines, Panama Canal Visibility Requirements - Panama

The Club has recently received reports from Members regarding the recent strict imposition of fines and delays to the canal transit, due to the non-compliance with the Panama Canal Regulations concerning bridge deck visibility.

The Club would like to remind Members of the notice A-16-2011, released by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) in August 2011 concerning the visibility requirements from the conning positions on the Bridge deck. In addition the Notice provides details of the 48 hour reporting requirement for vessels which are non-compliant with these regulations.

The regulations require the area of obscured visibility from the bridge of loaded vessels to not exceed one ships length forward of the vessel. For vessels in ballast this area of obscurity should not exceed one and half the ships lengths.

Non-compliant vessels will need to take further risk control measures such as additional pilots or tugs (decided on a case by case basis by the ACP). The Panama Canal regulations released 1 January 2012 stipulate vessels that do not comply with the visibility requirements and do not inform the ACP in the 48 hours pre arrival message will incur a fine. Additionally due to the late notice of non-compliance, delays may be incurred due to the time take to arrange additional tugs /pilots.

The regulations regarding the fines are issued along with this Bulletin. The details of the fines currently being levied will depend on the ACP but guidelines can be obtained from the ‘Panama flash’ website which can be accessed at the following web address; http://goo.gl/SNzC9

Members are advised to acquaint their vessel with the bridge visibility requirements and the reporting procedures and that any non-compliance with the regulations is passed in the appropriate format to the ACP through the vessels agents in good time so that any fines or delays can be avoided.

The latest regulations are issued along with this bulletin but for any future updates it is best to seek the guidance of local agents in Panama.

Source of Information: 
Anuj Velankar
UK P&I Club

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