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Panama: Latest Transit Information - Further Updates

By Sue Richards last modified Mar 20, 2012 08:53 PM

Published: 2012-03-20 20:53:41
Countries: Panama

Latest Update from Shelter Bay Marina
Posted 20 March 2012

I just wanted to inform you that the canal delays appear to be behind us with most vessels going through within 1 week from admeasuring. For larger vessels needing a pilot(over 60 feet) transits can usually be arranged between 1 and 4 days (advance arrangements with a good agent can be important here if looking to transit within 1 or 2 days).

There are few marina slips available on the Pacific side so a short stay at this marina may be helpful from a provisioning and repair standpoint. We have just started an economical van service to Panama city to allow our guests easy access to the shopping malls of a modern metropolis.

John
Marina manager

Transit Delays
Posted 15 March 2012

The only good news coming out of Panama right now is that transit delays are not as bad as predicted by some, and presently the average wait is between 8-12 days after inspection and payment of passage (in some cases even less).

The situation with transits however can change quickly depending on the number of new arrivals and availability of transit advisors signing up for small craft transits.

Transit - Atlantic to Pacific

The Panama Canal Authorities have now determined that they are able to transit yachts through the Canal during night hours, and are therefore scheduling transits "all the way" for yachts. Previous restrictions for small vessels to transit at night were generally due to visibility, but better lighting is now available.

This means that all yacht transits will start in the afternoon and finish late at night (1500 to 2330hrs), most likey passing the locks with a smaller size commercial vessel.

As per the rules and regulations of the Panama Canal Authorities, in order to complete a transit in this timeframe yachts are required to have a minimum speed of 8 knots.

If a yacht can not meet this minimum speed and can therefore not make the lockage with the commercial vessel, there will be additional charges incurred which are included in the buffer fee.

These are:
Transit pilot delay: $471.00
Launch services: $364.00
Mooring: $55.00
Total: $890.00

Transit - Pacific to Atlantic

This will remain the same, also all the way in one go, with a minimum speed of 8 knots.

Our thanks to Erick of Centenario & Co. and Karsten Staffeldt for bringing this news to noonsite’s attention.

Comment from James Joll, who transited the Panama Canal 9 March 2012

We crossed Atlantic to Pacific on the 9th March. While 8 knts gets mentioned it was pretty casual as to what was really required. I don't think anyone should worry too much. We did manage 8, and our pilot said it was the fastest he had done by a couple of hours.

For a 42 footer, or 12.5m catamaran, we paid Transit $500, Inspection $54, Security Fee $55, Agency Fee $350.
Total £959.
Which in hind site seems very reasonable.

The trip itself was enjoyable and our advisor could not have been nicer.

The biggest hassle was getting checked in. After cruising Europe (i.e. Greece) for two years, Panama was by far the most difficult and expensive check in. In Colon you need two stamps in the passport before Immigration will even deal with you. The Port Captain is away from Immigration and the Marina. Immigration is located in an unmarked office upstairs in muggers paradise! I think the Immigration fee was $107. Cruising permit $193.

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