OP Notice to Shipping N-1-2017, “Vessel Requirements”, Section 29.a, requires that vessels complete the switch (changeover) from heavy fuel oil (residual fuel) to light fuel (distillate fuel) that will be used for their propulsion engines, auxiliary engines, boilers and other ancillary equipment, prior to arriving at Panama Canal waters.
This requirement will resolve operational issues, as well as avoid any negative impact on the health of Panama Canal Authority (ACP) personnel, caused by the use of HFO while in Canal waters.
As a result of customers’ requests, and after evaluating the possible impact a modification to this requirement may have on our operations, to include health issues for ACP personnel, the above listed requirement has been modified as follows:
- Vessels with intentions to transit that, prior to transit, need to anchor at the Pacific or Atlantic Anchorages, or vessels that plan to call at the Pacific or Atlantic port terminals, will be permitted to use heavy (residual) fuel to operate their auxiliary engines, boilers and other ancillary equipment during their stay at the anchorage or at the berth. However, these vessels will be required to perform a changeover from heavy (residual) to light (distillate) fuel that is used to operate their propulsion engines prior to entering Canal waters.
- Vessels that opt to burn heavy (residual) fuel in their auxiliary engines, boilers and other ancillary equipment, as described in the above paragraph, shall change over to light (distillate) fuel operation, at least two (2) hours prior to the scheduled pilot time for their Canal transit. Vessels will be deemed ready for Canal transit only when the changeover to light fuel has been completed and are operating only on distillate fuel.
- Vessels that arrive at Canal waters with the sole intention to visit either the Pacific or Atlantic port terminal and will not transit, may be allowed to proceed to and from the port terminal on heavy fuel, including the main propulsion engines. These vessels will not be subject to the fuel changeover requirement stated in Notice to Shipping N-1-2017.
All vessels that arrive with the intention of transiting, shall record the fuel changeover in their engine room logbook and/or fuel oil changeover logbook. The logbook entries shall specify the date and time of commencement and ending of the changeover from heavy (residual) fuel to light (distillate) fuel, as well as the sulfur content of fuels.
As always, the Panama Canal appreciates your comments, and looks forward to continue serving you in the future.