The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has suspended the first draft restriction that was scheduled to go into effect September 8, 2015.
Although the level of Gatun Lake is still well below normal levels for this time of the year, and the “El Niño” phenomenon is still present in the region, the amount of rainfall received in the Canal Watershed during the last few days—in addition to the water conservation measures implemented and the works done to deepen the navigational channel—has made it possible for the Panama Canal to suspend the announced restriction.
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 (39.5 feet) Tropical Fresh Water (TFW).
The Panama Canal will continue to monitor and manage the water levels of Gatun and Alhajuela Lakes. The draft restrictions may again be necessary should weather conditions change and the level of Gatun Lake begins to fall, in which case, the restriction will be announced with at least four weeks advance notice, the ACP says.
El Niño is a large-scale ocean-atmosphere climate phenomenon linked to a periodic warming in sea-surface temperatures across the tropical Pacific. El Niño represents the warm phase of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle, and is sometimes referred to as a Pacific warm episode.
One of the main effects of El Niño is that it can alter rainfall patterns in many regions of the planet, causing excessive rains in some areas and droughts in others.
Source: World Maritime News
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