Drought causes Panama Canal to reduce ship size


PANAMA CITY: The Panama Canal will temporarily limit the size of ships using the waterway due to a drought caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon, authorities said Friday. The Panama Canal Authority said the maximum ship draft will be cut to 11.89 meters (39 feet) from September 8, affecting 18.5 percent of vessels that normally transit the link between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. A ship’s draft is its depth in the water, and changes as the vessel becomes heavier or lighter. The canal authority said further restrictions could be imposed on September 16 if weather conditions do not change. The maximum draft of vessels would be cut to 11.73 meters. Canal administrator Jorge Quijano said the month of June and the first half of July was the driest period in 102 years.



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