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Hot Port News from GAC


Panama Canal, Panama

Cape Lambert, Australia


Kupang, Indonesia

Measures to ensure water availability & route reliability
Wednesday, January 15, 2020, Panama Canal, Panama

Due to changing rainfall patterns and historic low water levels at Gatun Lake, the main source of water for the waterway, the Panama Canal announced it will implement a series of new measures beginning February 15 to sustain an operational level of water and provide reliability to customers while it implements a long-term solution to water.

This past year’s rainfall was 20% below the historic average and the fifth driest year in 70 years. It follows several years of lower than average rainfall coupled by a 10 percent increase in water evaporation levels due to a 0.5-1.5 degree Celsius rise in temperature.

Without fee and operational changes, the Canal’s water levels are projected to drop to levels that would affect the Neopanamax and Panamax Locks. These new measures are intended to better provide reliability in water levels and therefore transit schedules.

The measures include the following components:

A new freshwater fee will be applied to all vessels over 125 feet in length overall (LOA) that transit through the Panama Canal. In addition, a variable fee ranging from a minimum of 1 percent to a maximum of 10 percent of the vessel’s toll will be applied depending on Gatun Lake levels at the time of transit (i.e. if the lake has a higher level, the percentage will be lower and vice versa).

The Panama Canal will adjust the number of daily reservation slots available to 27, replicating the total offered during lane outages. The waterway will also require that each vessel pays its booking fee in full no later than 48 hours depending on the booking period.
Regulars (up to 90.99 feet in beam): 6 slots
“Supers” (up to 107 feet in beam): 13 slots
Neopanamax: 8 slots (unchanged)

One slot for supers and one slot for regular vessels will be awarded through the auction process three days before transits. Nonetheless, the Canal will continue to provide additional capacity when possible, serving vessels on a first-come, first-serve basis.


A handling service fee will be applied to all visits for transit at the time they are created in the system. The processing fee will be applied as follows:
For vessels 91 feet in beam and over: $5,000.
For vessels over 125 feet LOA, but less than 91 feet in beam: $1,500.

The fee will be deducted from the vessel’s tolls invoice once the vessel begins transit. If the vessel cancels the visit and does not transit, the Vessel Visit Creation Fee will not be refunded. All visits created prior to February 15, 2020 will be honored and will not be required to pay this fee.

The new measures will allow the Panama Canal to better anticipate the number and type of ships transiting the waterway, and therefore allocate water resources accordingly.

Customers will be provided with real-time data on current and projected levels of Gatun Lake, available maximum drafts, and number and types of transits when requesting transits or making reservations. The official lake levels will be published daily, as well as forecasted for the following 2 months.

The decision to adopt such measures was taken following an evaluation of the impact of innovative techniques already instituted to save water used in the Canal’s operations. For example, the Panama Canal has been implementing cross-filling lockages, a technique that sends water between the two lanes at the Panamax Locks during transits and saves an amount of water equivalent to that used in six lockages each day. Other ongoing water-saving measures adopted at the Panama Canal include:
Suspension of power generation at the Gatun Hydroelectric Plant
Elimination of hydraulic assistance at the Panamax Locks
Tandem lockages, which involves two ships transiting at the same time, when vessel size allows
Use of water-saving basins at the Neopanamax Locks

In addition to these measures, the Panama Canal will expand its investment program to include projects focused on addressing the sustainability of the water supply in the medium and long-term. The Panama Canal will continue to dedicate a portion of its income to analyzing and identifying solutions to the problem of water availability in the watershed.

(For information about operations in the Panama Canal contact GAC Panama at agency.panama@gac.com)

Source: Panama Canal Authority press release dated 13 January 2020

Port re-opened but full
Wednesday, January 15, 2020, Cape Lambert, Australia

Cape Lambert was re-opened for arrivals yesterday (14 January) after the berths were cleared due to Tropical Cyclone Claudia and vessels directed to anchorages at the weekend. The port is currently full so vessels are anchoring near C1.

Tropical Cyclone Claudia continues to move over open waters well to the northwest of the West Australia mainland. The system will continue to track towards the west southwest, slowly weakening and forecast to be below tropical cyclone intensity tomorrow (16 January).

For information about operations in Australia contact GAC Australia at shipping.australia@gac.com

IMB annual piracy report: Unprecedented number of Gulf of Guinea crew kidnappings despite drop in overall global numbers
Wednesday, January 15, 2020, Worldwide

Despite overall piracy incidents declining in 2019, there was an alarming increase in crew kidnappings across the Gulf of Guinea, according to the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) annual piracy report.

In 2019, IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre received 162 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships worldwide, in comparison to 201 reported incidents in 2018. The incidents included four hijacked vessels, 11 vessels fired upon, 17 attempted attacks, and 130 vessels boarded, according to the latest IMB figures. While the overall decline in piracy incidents is an encouraging development, vessels remain at risk in several regions, especially the Gulf of Guinea.

The number of crew kidnapped in the Gulf of Guinea increased more than 50% from 78 in 2018 to 121 in 2019. This equates to over 90% of global kidnappings reported at sea with 64 crew members kidnapped across six separate incidents in the last quarter of 2019 alone. The region accounted for 64 incidents including all four vessel hijackings that occurred in 2019, as well as 10 out of 11 vessels that reported coming under fire…

…Similarly, the Singapore Straits experienced a rise in armed robbery attacks with 12 reported incidents in 2019, including 11 in the last quarter of 2019. The same region accounted for just three incidents for the entirety of 2018.

IMB’s latest figures also report that vessels were successfully boarded in 10 incidents across the region last year. Despite this rise, IMB considers the intensity of the attacks in the Singapore Straits to be ‘low level’ and usually limited to armed robbery from the vessel…

…Armed robbery attacks in Indonesian ports are down from 36 incidents in 2018 to 25 in 2019. Dialogue and coordination between the Indonesian Marine Police (IMP) and the IMB PRC has led to a decrease in regional incidents, according to the report.

Elsewhere, in the Indian sub-continent, Bangladesh reported zero incidents for 2019. This is the first time since 2015 that no piracy or armed robbery incidents have been reported around Bangladesh.

Across the Indian Ocean, Somalia reported zero piracy incidents, yet the IMB PRC advises that vessels and crews remain cautious when travelling through the region. In particular, the report warns that “Somali pirates continue to possess the capacity to carry out attacks in the Somali basin and wider Indian Ocean.”…

(For information about operations worldwide contact the respective GAC office. Details can be found in the GAC WORLDWIDE section of www.gac.com)

Source: Extracts from International Maritime Bureau (www.icc-ccs.org) news release dated 14 January 2020

5.9 magnitude earthquake
Wednesday, January 15, 2020, Kupang, Indonesia

An earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter Scale shook Kupang, Indonesia, at 14.55 hours local time today (15 January). Its epicenter was 64km southeast of the district at a depth of 10km.

So far, there are no reports of damages caused by the quake.

For details and updates, as well as information about operations in Indonesia contact PT Andhika GAC at shipping.indonesia@gac.com

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