Panama Canal Authority Suspends Draft Restriction

Caused by El Nino conditions, the restriction had been set to begin Sept. 8.

The Panama Canal Authority announced Aug. 28 that it has suspended the draft restriction that was scheduled to go into effect Sept. 8.

"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)," according to its announcement.

The authority said it will continue to monitor and manage the water levels of Gatun and Alhajuela Lakes, adding that the restrictions may yet be necessary if the Gatun Lake level falls.

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