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Hot Port News from GAC


Hong Kong



Panama Canal, Panama





Marine site investigation north-west of Tsing Yi
Thursday, May 14, 2020, Hong Kong

For approximately 2 months, marine site investigation works involving drilling of boreholes and vibrocores will be carried out within the area bounded by straight lines joining the following co-ordinates (WGS 84 Datum) from (A) to (D) and the adjacent shoreline:
(A) 22 deg. 21.117’N / 114 deg. 04.859’E
(B) 22 deg. 21.090’N / 114 deg. 04.771’E
(C) 22 deg. 21.446’N / 114 deg. 04.628’E
(D) 22 deg. 21.488’N / 114 deg. 04.748’E

The works will be carried out by one flat top barge. One tugboat and one work boat will provide assistance.

A working area of approximately 50 metres around the flat top barge will be established. Yellow marker buoys fitted with yellow flashing lights will be laid to mark the positions of the anchors extending from the flat top barge.

The hours of work will be from 0800 to 1800 hours. No works will be carried out on Sundays and public holidays. Vessels employed for the works will stay in the works area outside the hours of work.

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.65/2020

Incoming severe weather (Typhoon Ambo)
Thursday, May 14, 2020, Philippines

In anticipation of Severe Tropical Cyclone Ambo, PMO NCR-South is advising all shipping lines and other stakeholders to take all necessary precautions to avoid loss of life and damage to property.

Based on the latest weather forecast, “Ambo” will traverse the NCR on Saturday 16 May.

In view thereof and for purposes of safety, all vessels in the barge pool area are directed to transfer to the Pasig River for sheltering. Other large vessels in the anchorage may heave their anchors and proceed outside Manila Bay to avoid the storm. Vessels at berth are also advised to leave. PPA will issue Shifting Order for this purpose.

Small sea crafts intending to take shelter inside Pasig River should coordinate with PPA TMO Pasig and PCG-Delpan. 2GO vessels at Pier 15, on the other hand, are advised to pull out and seek shelter at Manila Bay OBW.

(For information about operations in the Philippines, contact GAC Philippines at philippines@gac.com)

Source: Philippine Ports Authority Advisory dated 13 May 2020

Hub closed ahead of bad weather
Thursday, May 14, 2020, Bahamas

Buckeye Bahamas Hub was closed yesterday afternoon (13 May), due to impending bad weather.

Further updates will be given as conditions change.

(For information about operations in the Bahamas, contact the GAC Houston Hub Agency Center at hub.us@gac.com)

Source: Buckeye Bahamas Hub notification

Canal secures steady draft, operational reliability following water measures
Thursday, May 14, 2020, Panama Canal, Panama

Earlier this year, the Panama Canal implemented water saving measures after experiencing the 5th driest year at the Canal in 70 years. The Canal has now emerged from its dry season equipped to ensure a competitive draft, and thus steady operations for months to come.

Having an operational level of water and transit reliability in the second half of 2020 will be critical for the waterway as it advances its search for long-term water solutions and prepares for coronavirus-driven shifts in trade, as the Panama Canal Administrator outlined earlier this month.

The waterway has carefully monitored its operational water usage since the end of 2018, when rainfall at the watershed was 20 percent below the historic average. This unprecedented drought severely constrained water levels at Gatun and Alhajuela Lakes, the main sources of water for the Canal and half of Panama’s population. Despite the extensive use of water conservation tactics across Canal operations, inadequate draft levels were still projected to significantly restrict cargo transiting the waterway if no further interventions were made.

As a result, on February 15, the Panama Canal adopted a series of bold measures to sustain an operational level of water, including a freshwater surcharge informed by daily water level data at Gatun Lake, a profit-neutral measure that is also a standard practice across the industry. The reservation system was also altered to increase certainty around transit schedules, which allowed for more efficient use of water resources and conservation tactics, such as cross-filling lockages, an innovative technique developed by the Canal team that saves the same amount of water used in six lockages each day by sending water between the two lanes during transits at the Panamax Locks.

The February measures also built upon the progress made by the Canal’s many long-standing conservation initiatives. As one example, the Environmental Economic Incentives Program, or PIEA in Spanish, works to ensure families living along the watershed have the resources, education and other incentives to invest in the long-term sustainability of their property and the surrounding environment. The program has led to reduced rates of runoff and water usage in such communities, as well as the reforestation of over 22,000 acres of land, with over five million seeds planted and 3.5 million tons of C02 captured.

Now, less than three months after the conservation measures were implemented, the water levels at Gatun Lake can accommodate a steady 45-foot draft, higher than projected for the start of the rainy season, which is expected to begin mid-May. Panama’s rainy season official start date will be determined by various environmental factors, such as wind speed, rainfall in the watershed, ocean temperatures in the Gulf of Panama, among other metrics.

On top of minimizing draft restrictions, the Canal has provided relief to its customers during this time of instability by adjusting its reservation system. Developed in response to input gathered by the Panama Canal’s leadership from top customers, the changes introduced late last month offer extended flexibility surrounding fees and swapping booking slots.

Ultimately, this renewed draft reliability will help bolster the resilience of the Panama Canal route in the months ahead as the industry faces economic uncertainty in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. Nonetheless, the Panama Canal’s search for long-term solutions continues. By the end of the year, the team aims to not only request and review engineering proposals, and after that, begin constructing a long-term solution. Having a steady water supply is a top priority for the Canal, and so we will partner with innovative engineers to ensure that we can maintain our reliable service for years to come.

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

Source: Panama Canal Authority press release dated 13 May 2020

Confinement/complete lockdown renewed
Thursday, May 14, 2020, Lebanon

The Lebanese Government has responded to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases during Period 2 of the lockdown easing by renewing the confinement/complete lockdown.

This is in force from 1900 hours last night (13 May) to 0500 hours on Monday 18 May, to be reconfirmed on Sunday 17 May.

For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in Lebanon, contact GAC Lebanon at lebanon@gac.com

Crew changes and husbandry with restrictions
Thursday, May 14, 2020, Spain

All terminals at Spain are running normally, and some have COVID-19 procedures in place (such as restricted access, uses of masks, etc).

Crew changes are possible, but highly restricted. The immigration police do not recommend crew changes be carried out in Spain and their advice should be sought and followed before arranging any. Direct transport from airport to vessel and vice versa is highly recommended.

Flights arriving/departing Spain are heavily restricted. It is very difficult to get direct flights to some regions, as most are directed towards main cities Madrid or Barcelona. Only Schengen area on-signers are allowed to fly to Spain. For off-signers without Schengen visa, visa can only be arranged in emergency cases.

Crew members (both on- and off-signing) must always have with them the following documents:

Seaman’s book

Visa, when needed

Employment agreement or letter of appointment issued by owner or agency of the crew or master. This must include the following information:
– vessel name, IMO number & flag
– port for crew change
– full details of crew change
– date of embarking – estimate
– date of disembarking – estimate
– For offsigners – arrival crew list signed and stamped by Master
Delivery of spares/provisions is being carried out as per normal procedure. Some terminals only allow this to be done by barge, as access through gangway is forbidden.

For any husbandry service, the agent must be consulted to confirm if it can be carried out at the specific port.

For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in Spain, contact the GAC Dubai Hub Agency Centre at hub.ae@gac.com

Crew changes decided on case-by-case basis
Thursday, May 14, 2020, Iceland

Crew changes may be allowed in Iceland. However, permission must be sought from the authorities, who will decide on a case-by-case.

There are logistical difficulties owing to limited flights to/from Iceland and restrictions in place.

For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in Iceland, contact the GAC Dubai Hub Agency Centre at hub.ae@gac.com

Requirements for crew changes
Thursday, May 14, 2020, Denmark

Crew changes are still possible in Denmark, but all inbound and outbound personnel must carry a document stating their purpose of transit. This can be a letter from the employer or we can issue a Letter of Guarantee.

On-signers may stay overnight in Denmark but flights need to be as close as possible to the vessel´s ETA. Off-signers may also stay overnight in Denmark until the first flight out of the country is available.

No quarantine is allowed at the moment.

For information about visa requirements, go to https://nyidanmark.dk/en-GB/Words-and-concepts/US/Visum/Countries-with-a-visa-requirement-and-visa-free-countries

For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in Denmark, contact GAC Denmark at denmark@gac.com

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