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Hot Port News from GAC

02-Sep-2020

CREW CHANGES TO COMMENCE, WITH RESTRICTIONS
Freeport, Bahamas

INCREASE OF THE MAXIMUM AUTHORIZED DRAFT FOR NEOPANAMAX VESSELS
Panama Canal, Panama

HURRICANE LAURA PORT CONDITION RECOVERY
Calcasieu & Sabine-Neches Waterways, United States

Crew changes to commence, with restrictions
Wednesday, September 2, 2020, Freeport, Bahamas

GAC’s agent in the Bahamas has been granted permission to start crew changes at Freeport, with restrictions.

The agent must individually submit a letter requesting for the crew change for both on- and off-signers. Once the letter submitted, request will then be sent to Civil Aviation and health professionals as medical approval is important for the process. Approval is expected to take a few days.

The following are process and restrictions for all crew change taking place:

ON-SIGNERS

Medical professional must escort persons directly to flight.
Provide charter flight information as private charter flights ONLY.
Names of crew.
Before departure to the Bahamas, a Health Visa must be issued by the Government of The Bahamas. To apply visit travel.gov.bs.
Before departure to the Bahamas, a RTPCR COVID-19 molecular diagnostic test with a negative result within 5 days from the date of travel is required.
No lay-overs – Only direct airport to vessel transfers (not hotels) are permitted.
Vessel must be drifting 3-5 miles off port limits before charter flight can leave Florida to proceed to Bahamas.
On arrival, all crew members must wear regulated masks prior to disembarking the flight.
Crew to be picked up at the airport, plane side, and transported to launch vessel with no stops.
OFF-SIGNERS

Medical professional must escort person directly to flight.
Provide charter flight information as private charter flights ONLY.
Names of crew.
No lay-overs – Only direct vessel to airport transfers (no hotels) are permitted.
Charter flight must be grounded at the airport in Bahamas prior to crew disembarking vessel.
Off-signing crew members must wear regulated masks prior to disembarking vessel.
Off-signing crew to be transported to shore via launch vessel.
Off-signing crew to be picked up and transported to airport where Bahamas Immigration can process the crew for immediate boarding of flight.
COVID19 testing is required for off-signers. However, the turnaround time for results is 4-5 working days and crew will remain onboard until negative test received.
Medical physician can be arranged for off signers testing.
(For further details and updates, as well as information about operations in the Bahamas, contact the GAC Houston Hub Agency Center at hub.us@gac.com)

Source: Elnet Maritime – GAC agent

Increase of the maximum authorized draft for Neopanamax vessels
Wednesday, September 2, 2020, Panama Canal, Panama

Based on present and projected levels of Gatun Lake for the upcoming weeks, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announces that, effective September 2, 2020, the Maximum Authorized Draft for vessels transiting the Neopanamax locks will be 14.94 m (49.0 feet) Tropical Fresh Water (TFW).

Vessels arriving with drafts over 14.94 m (49.0 feet) TFW may be allowed to transit, depending on the actual level of Gatun Lake at the time of transit. Otherwise, they will be required to trim or off-load cargo in order to be allowed to transit.

The ACP will continue to monitor the level of Gatun Lake in order to announce future draft adjustments in a timely manner.

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

Source: Panama Canal Authority (www.pancanal.com) Advisory To Shipping No.A-32-2020 dated 1 September 2020

Hurricane Laura port condition recovery
Wednesday, September 2, 2020, Calcasieu & Sabine-Neches Waterways, United States

Effective at 8:00 a.m. September 1, 2020, the Captain of the Port has set Port Condition Recovery for the Calcasieu Waterway. Port Condition – Recovery remains in effect for the Sabine-Neches Waterway.

The rig located in the offshore Calcasieu Channel was removed. The dry dock sunk in the Sabine-Neches Canal 2-miles south of Beans Fleet has been removed from the channel. Traffic on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) remains restricted by downed power lines at Mile Marker 260 and two swing bridges are currently closed. Many aids to navigation remain discrepant.

CALCASIEU WATERWAY
The Calcasieu Waterway is open with restrictions as follows:

Vessels of less than 30-foot draft may transit the Calcasieu River and Calcasieu Channel during daylight hours.
The Calcasieu River above City Docks, Clooney Island Loop and Coon Island Reach remains closed while final surveys are assessed.
Monkey Island Loop surveys indicate significant debris, and therefore, remains closed. Additional surveys of the federal project channel are expected.
The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway remains closed to through traffic due to Black Bayou and Grand Lake Bridges being closed and downed power lines at Mile Marker 260. Local inland traffic is authorized.
SABINE NECHES WATERWAY
The Sabine-Neches Waterway is open with restrictions as follows:

Deep draft traffic will begin limited transits past the dry dock salvage operation early Wednesday morning. Additional transits will be based on the results of those transits and other survey operations.
The GIWW from Orange Cut east to Calcasieu River is closed to all traffic. Power lines are down and in the water at MM 260.
Inland tows may operate unrestricted on the Sabine-Neches Waterway above and below the ongoing dry dock salvage operation, however, no tows will be allowed to pass until at least Wednesday morning. Contact VTS Port Arthur for permission to transit past the salvage operation.
Light tows, small harbor tugs and similar unencumbered vessels will be allowed to pass the ongoing salvage operations.
(For information about operations in the United States, contact GAC North America at usa@gac.com)

Source: U.S. Coast Guard, Port Arthur Texas, Marine Safety Information Bulletin 19-20 dated 1 September 2020

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