Canal restricts depth of vessels
An announcement made by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) confirmed that for the first time since 1998 the Panama Canal will need to restrict the depth of vessels passing through the canal. This is due to extremely low water levels in the Gatun and Alajuela lakes, which El Niño has contributed to.
The restriction, effective as of Wednesday April 20th, will reduce the limit of the depth of a vessel by 6 inches. If the province continues to experience drought, and water levels do not increase the limit will be reduced by another 6 inches. The restrictions will continue to increase by 6 inches until the rain comes and lakes reach the usual levels.
It is estimated that the rainy season will not begin in Panama until mid May. On Monday, the Gatun Lake was recorded at a depth of 24.10 meters, 1.80 meters lower than the level it should be for this time of year, while the Alajuela reported 62.2 meters approximately 6.59 meters less than the required level.