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Hot Port news from GAC

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Hong Kong
Panama Canal, Panama
Panama Canal, Panama
Kerch Strait, Russia
SE Texas & SW Louisiana, United States
Houston & Galveston, United States
Dredging at Kwai Tsing Container Terminal 9 South
Monday, August 28, 2017, Hong Kong
For approximately 4 months, dredging operations will be carried out within the area bounded by straight lines joining the following co-ordinates (WGS 84 Datum) from (A) to (E) and the adjacent shoreline:
(A) 22 deg. 20.325’N / 114 deg. 06.902’E
(B) 22 deg. 20.333’N / 114 deg. 06.930’E
(C) 22 deg. 19.853’N / 114 deg. 07.093’E
(D) 22 deg. 19.680’N / 114 deg. 06.936’E
(E) 22 deg. 19.709’N / 114 deg. 06.901’EThe works will be carried out by a grab dredger. Two tugboats and two split-hopper barges will assist in the works. The number of vessels engaged in the works will change from time to time to suit operational requirements.A working area of approximately 50 metres around the grab dredger will be established. Yellow marker buoys fitted with yellow flashing lights will be laid to mark the positions of the anchors extending from the grab dredger.

The hours of work will be round-the-clock.

Vessels engaged in the operations will display signals as prescribed in international and local regulations.

Vessels navigating in the vicinity should proceed with caution.

(For information about operations in Hong Kong contact GAC Hong Kong at shipping.hongkong@gac.com)

Source: Government of the Hong Kong SAR Marine Department Notice No.121 of 2017

Locks lane outage and the Transit Reservation System
Monday, August 28, 2017, Panama Canal, Panama
Beginning at 2200 hours on Thursday, August 31, 2017, until 1800 hours on Friday, September 1, 2017 (20 hours), the EAST lane of Miraflores Locks will be out of service for final adjustments on Miter Gates 120 and 121.

As a result, and in accordance with the rules governing the Transit Reservation System (OP’s Notice to Shipping No. N-7-2017), Condition 2 for the Panamax locks will be in effect on Friday, September 1, 2017.

Applications for reserved transits while Condition 2 is in effect will be received beginning at 0900 hours on Tuesday, August 29, 2017. The Just-In-Time (JIT) transit slots available for supers will be reduced to one for each direction for this day, whereas the JIT slots for regular vessels transiting without restrictions will remain at one for each direction. The slots available for regular vessels less than 300 feet in LOA will be limited to two, regardless of transit direction. Vessels that are awarded these slots will not be allowed to request a Daylight Transit. The booking slot available through the auction process will also be available if required.

(For information about operations in the Panama Canal contact GAC-Wilford & McKay at gac-wilfordmckay.panama@gac.com)

Source: Panama Canal Authority Advisory To Shipping No.A-29-2017

Maximum allowable draft for Neopanamax locks
Monday, August 28, 2017, Panama Canal, Panama
Since the beginning of the 2017 rainy season, the rainfall within the Panama Canal hydrographic basin has allowed the water levels in Canal reservoirs to be gradually increased.

Based on the current and projected level of Gatun Lake for the upcoming weeks, effective September 2, 2017, the maximum allowable draft for vessels transiting the Neopanamax locks will be increased to 14.02m (46.0 feet) Tropical Fresh Water (TFW).

Gatun Lake level projections are based on historical precipitation patterns, and should allow us the increase the draft over the next few months. Likewise, as the dry season looms in January 2018 and the lake level starts to drop, it may become necessary to adjust the maximum draft levels permitted for Neopanamax vessels in keeping with this cyclical rainfall occurrence. Future updates to the maximum allowable draft will be announced in a timely manner.

(For information about operations in the Panama Canal contact GAC-Wilford & McKay at gac-wilfordmckay.panama@gac.com)

Source: Panama Canal Authority Advisory to Shipping No.A-30-2017 dated 25 August 2017

Closure of Strait for bridge work
Monday, August 28, 2017, Kerch Strait, Russia
Due to installation of spans on Kerch strait bridge until 00:01 hours on 30 August, traffic for all vessels except Navy, state vessels and those involved in building of Kerch strait bridge is suspended until 00:01 hours on Wednesday 30 August.

For information about operations in Russia contact GAC Russia at russia@gac.com

Impact of Hurricane Harvey
Monday, August 28, 2017, SE Texas & SW Louisiana, United States
Hurricane Harvey, now Tropical Storm Harvey, continues weakening and is nearly stationary, drifting slowly SE towards Matagorda Bay. The storm is causing torrential rainfall from Southwest Louisiana to south of Port O’Connor and inland to near Austin and San Antonio.

Houston and its surrounding communities have been hit especially hard, with some sections receiving over 25 inches in the last 24 hours. Roadways are flooded making local transits for workers impractical. A slow storm track over the area will mean periods of heavy rain through Wednesday, resulting in unprecedented flooding for Southeast Texas. A tropical storm warning plus a storm surge warning remains in effect for coastal counties southwest of Sargent TX.

The Captain of the Port, Sector Houston-Galveston expects to remain at Port Condition ZULU for at least until tomorrow(29 August), possibly longer. USCG Houston-Galveston Vessel Traffic Service confirms they are approving emergent vessel movements on a case by case basis. All vessels moored alongside a facility during Port Condition ZULU should maintain radio watch on VHF Channel 13.

USCG Air and Water assets are working around the clock conducting urban search and rescue operations in the greater Houston area due to floodwaters in the area.

US Army Corps of Engineers have positioned numerous survey vessels locally to begin waterway surveys as soon as conditions permit, in order to open the waterways as soon as possible, however the current concentration of assets is directed at recovery in Corpus Christi and Matagorda ship channels. They will also try to survey the Freeport channel based upon comments made by the Brazos Pilots on this call. Some additional assets are being dispatched from the New Orleans District.

Houston Pilots sent a pilot boat out to assess the situation on the bar. Seas were reported in excess of 10′, winds gusting to 80mph and several navigation aids were off station. Galveston-Texas City Pilots also sent a pilot boat out and saw similar situation to what Houston Pilots reported. Brazos Pilots could successfully travel the entire inside channel and it appears that the ATONs were in good shape inside, but offshore conditions were not as good. It appears they have lost 5-7 feet of depth in the channel due to shoaling at the jetties.

For Southwest Louisiana, minor flooding is forecast for the Calcasieu River. Sea conditions at the bar and outer channel are not expected to moderate until Wednesday or Thursday at the earliest.

The Captain of the Port, MSU Port Arthur, set Port Condition X-Ray for all ports within the Sector (MSIB 08-17) at noonon Friday.

US Army Corps of Engineers suggest the Bar channel will most likely be the only area seriously impacted by the storm. Louisiana State Police report that all roads are open, but flooding has been reported.

For information about operations in the USA contact GAC USA at usa@gac.com

Hurricane Harvey update (28 August)
Monday, August 28, 2017, Houston & Galveston, United States
The centre of Harvey is emerging off the middle Texas coast, and it is expected to remain just offshore through Tuesday(29 August). Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph (65 km/h) with higher gusts. Slight re-strengthening is possible later today and Tuesday. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km) from the center.

Offshore conditions for Galveston and Freeport, seas are reported at 8-10′ and SE winds of 20-30 mph with higher gusts. Seas and winds near the bands of heavy precipitation will be higher.

Life-threatening flooding continues over Southeastern Texas. Harvey is expected to produce additional rainfall accumulations of 15-25 inches through Friday over the upper Texas coast and into southwestern Louisiana. Isolated storm totals may reach 50 inches over the upper Texas coast, including the Houston/Galveston metropolitan area.

Periods of mainly light to moderate rain with embedded showers and thunderstorms containing heavier rains can be expected across the area today and tonight as Tropical Storm Harvey moves off the coast near Matagorda Bay. Any heavy rain falling on locations that have already received record breaking rainfall will be devastating. Harvey is expected to work its way up the Texas coast on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston command center is receiving an extremely high level of calls for help. Please do not notify first responders of your location and distress by social media – Please call 911, or to reach the Coast Guard, please call any of the following numbers only if you feel your life is in jeopardy: 281-464-4851281-464-4852281-464-4853281-464-4854281-464-4855

USCG Air and Water assets are working around the clock conducting urban search and rescue operations in the greater Houston area due to floodwaters in the area.

For information about operations in the USA contact GAC USA at usa@gac.com

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