Guidance for LNG Carriers Transiting the Panama Canal (eBook)

Published Date

June 2014

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Guidance for LNG Carriers Transiting the Panama Canal (eBook)

(Excludes any applicable taxes)

With the completion of the Panama Canal (third set of locks) expansion project in June 2016, the majority of LNG carriers are now able to transit the Canal. This Guide provides practical guidance on the ACP requirements, including pre-arrival procedures, security, navigation, pilotage, mooring, tugs, LNG cargo carriage, vapour management, propulsion systems, bridge visibility and contingency planning.

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Historically, LNG carriers have been unable to transit the Canal, mainly due to size restrictions. Following expansion of the Canal, this Guide will benefit LNG ship operators and Masters in preparation for transit of this vital waterway via the Cocoli and Agua Clara locks.


When compiling this Guide, SIGTTO and the ACP referred to relevant ACP regulations as well as to SIGTTO guidance, industry standards and best practices. They took a proactive and consultative approach to identify issues that needed to be addressed to permit safe and efficient transit of LNG carriers through the Canal.


The Guide looks at the geography of the new locks and discusses safety, minimum equipment levels and what might be considered to be good operating practices. Some LNG carriers may need modification to comply with the ACP requirements and the Annex to the Guide summarises the structural requirements. The Guide also includes a detailed fold-out chart of the entire Canal showing depths and dimensions, navigable waters, anchorages, aids to navigation, significant features, etc (this is intended as a ready-reference and is not to be used for navigation).


It should be noted that this Guide is not a substitute for consulting the up-to-date applicable regulations and legislation (both national and international), which should always be followed in preference to this Guide.


Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations




1 New Locks

1.1 Atlantic Entrance

1.2 Pacific Entrance


2 Overview

2.1 Organisation

2.2 Transiting the Panama Canal

2.3 Panama Regulations


3 Safety

3.1 Managing LNG Carrier Transits

3.2 Considerations for LNG in Port Areas

3.3 Risk Assessment

3.4 Contingency Planning

3.5 Prevention of Fatigue

3.6 Language


4 Pre-Arrival


5 Security

5.1 General

5.2 Security Communication

5.3 Security Levels

5.4 Identification


6 Pollution Prevention


7 Navigation

7.1 Abort Points

7.2 Critical Areas

7.3 Channel Widths

7.4 Direction of Buoyage in the Panama Canal

7.5 Speed

7.6 Transit Restrictions

7.7 Communications

7.8 Sample Transit Plan


8 Pilotage

8.1 Boarding Areas

8.2 AIS Plug

8.3 Number of Pilots

8.4 Training and Simulation


9 Mooring

9.1 Lock Procedure

9.2 Mooring Fittings

9.3 Ropes

9.4 Mooring Gang


10 Anchoring and Mooring Areas

10.1 General Considerations

10.2 Anchorage Area Restrictions

10.3 Anchorages

10.4 Contingency Anchorage and Mooring Areas

10.5 Stores, Bunkering, Crew Change and other Activities


11 Tugs

11.1 Type

11.2 Atlantic Side

11.3 Pacific Side

11.4 Methods for Securing Tugs

11.5 Tug Assistance

11.6 Contingency

11.7 Training


12 LNG Cargo Carriage

12.1 Loaded Passage

12.2 Ballast Passage

12.3 Cargo Operations


13 Cargo Tank Vapour Management

13.1 Excess Vapour Management

13.2 Cargo Vapour Management

13.3 Emergency Venting


14 Propulsion Overview

14.1 Engine Starting Requirement

14.2 Response

14.3 Propulsion System Types

14.4 Bow Thruster


15 Bridge Visibility

15.1 Comparison Tables of Navigation Bridge Visibility of LNG Carriers (Moss Type and Membrane Type)

15.2 ACP Visibility Requirements

15.3 Draught and Trim

15.4 Steering Lights


16 Environmental

16.1 Wind

16.2 Current

16.3 Tidal

16.4 Wave Height

16.5 Depths and Potential Seasonal Draught Restrictions

16.6 Density

16.7 Evening Time


17 Contingency Planning

17.1 ACP Risk Prevention and Control

17.2 Collision

17.3 Grounding

17.4 Gas Release/Loss of Containment

17.5 Fire

17.6 Equipment Failure

17.7 Loss of Power

17.8 Dead Ship.



The purpose of SIGTTO is to promote shipping and terminal operations for liquefied gases which are safe, environmentally responsible and reliable. To fulfil this mission it will:

  • Proactively develop best operating practices and guideline

  • Sustain a learning environment by sharing lessons learned

  • Promote training and development of all within the industry

  • Foster mutually beneficial relationships with regulatory authorities and other stakeholders

  • Conduct its business with professionalism and integrity

Title: Guidance for LNG Carriers Transiting the Panama Canal (eBook)
Product Code: WS1433EA
ISBN: ISBN 13: 978-1-85609-647-8 (9781856096478), ISBN 10: 1-85609-647-5 (1856096475)
Published Date: June 2014

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