Panama Canal will review vessel stowage plans
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has reminded ship masters they are responsible for providing accurate information through the canal's electronic data system in order to assess correct transiting tolls.
ACP said it will also require vessel masters to provide canal boarding officers with correct and updated information regarding cargo on board, including details on the size and number of containers carried on the main deck of a ship using the canal.
'As part of routine inspections,' the authority said in a statement, boarding officers will check to see that stowage plans 'state the size and number, as well as the location, of each container within a stowage plan.' If a vessel does not have such a plan, boarding officers 'may accept any other official document or diagram that will provide this information.'
ACP considers containers as cargo 'regardless of their contents or lack thereof. For a container to be part of a vessel's superstructure, it must be completely welded to the ship, not affixed with spot welding or bolts. Each open-top storage bin on deck will be considered as a container,' the authority explained.
The authority also noted that 'students on training vessels and scientists on research vessels must be declared as passengers and the laden rate will apply.'
For more information, see http://www.pancanal.com/common/maritime/advisories/a-28-2005.html.