Panama Canal to temporarily limit cargo on bigger ships

Speaking yesterday, canal authorities said that the decision to restrict large ships had been made as a result of El Nino-related droughts.


In a story August. 7 about the Panama Canal, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the size of ships will be temporarily restricted due to drought conditions.

ACP added that canal officials will do everything possible to eliminate those restrictions at the earliest opportunity. Similar problems occurred in 1997-98.

The draught restriction might be tightened further on Sept, 15 to 11.73 metres, depending on rainfall and lake levels.

Starting on September 8, the greatest draft allowed will be 39 feet (11.89 m), down from the current maximum of 39.5 feet (12.04 m), the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) said.

STRINGER/REUTERS A container ship sails underneath the Bridge of the Americas in the Panama Canal in Panama City. The authority said in an earlier advisory that restrictions would be imposed in 15 cm increments and announced at least five weeks in advance.


Scientists have warned about the potentially devastating effects of El Nino; a phenomenon which sees above-normal temperatures in the Pacific Ocean cause extreme weather around the world. Only a minority of ships now using the canal will be affected, the authority said.

Drought causes Panama Canal to reduce cargo size