Friday, June 17, 2016

Panama and Suez Canal News for VLCCs and Other Merchant Vessels

Changes to Charges and New Charts Available Whilst Drones are Banned
Shipping News Feature
PANAMA – SUEZ – News from the world’s two main merchant shipping canals this week as Suez publishes a circular confirming changes to charges for Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) and acts upon an unauthorised drone incident, whilst new Electronic Nautical Charts (ENCs) are now available showing details of the complete Panama Canal operation.

VLCCs over 250,000 dwt heading north from the Arabian Gulf en route to the US Gulf or the Caribbean zone on their round trip to transit via the Suez Canal after discharging part of their cargo in the SUMED line will have to pay $155,000 to the Suez Canal Authority. SUMED is a pipeline running between the Ain Sukhna terminal on the Gulf of Suez to offshore Sidi Kerir, Alexandria on the Mediterranean Sea and eliminates the necessity to use the Suez Canal.

On her return ballast trip the cost is set at $230,000 and both charges include the cost of tugs, charges for arrival after limit time and charges for booking in the convoy. The circular is now in effect until December 2016 on an experimental basis and any company wishing to benefit must submit a request prior to transit via its ships agency.

In other Suez news the Gard P&I Club has issued an alert to its members after crew launched a drone from a vessel passing through the canal. The intention was to record the vessel under way but the drone was sighted by the authorities which caused a full security alert and the vessel to be stopped and searched. The drone and SD card were seized and the vessel delayed whilst an investigation proceeded.

Over in Panama a set of five Electronic Nautical Charts (ENCs) Band 5, covering the entire Panama Canal operational areas, were released to the IC-ENC {International Centre for ENCs] network of Value Added Resellers (VARS) for distribution earlier this month and should now be available to purchasers. The charts link with the other area ENCs produced by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) whilst the three current area charts will be withdrawn or reduced in area.

These new charts are available to shipping companies through any of the eight VARS chart distributors of IC-ENC, and subscription to these charts may be requested in the same manner as is done with ENCs of other regions visited by your vessels. The web site addresses of the eight IC-ENC VARs are linked here:

AdmiraltyChartcoChartworldDatema JeppesonMarisNavtorPRIMAR

The cell codes for the new five ENCs (Band 5) are:

  • PA5CP001 – Panama Canal – Atlantic Entrance
  • PA5CP002 – Panama Canal – North Gatun Lake
  • PA5CP003 – Panama Canal – South Gatun Lake
  • PA5CP004 – Panama Canal – Gaillard Cut
  • PA5CP005 – Panama Canal – Pacific Entrance