Drought blocks hundreds of ships from crossing the Panama Canal

panamaFor several days, a long queue has been forming on both sides of the Panama Canal, linking the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. Around 130 to 160 ships are stuck at the entrance to the canal, waiting for their turn to cross.

The severe drought that has been affecting the region for months has depleted the water available in this 80 km-long waterway, which is used by over 13 000 ships every year.

It is worth mentioning that the Panama Canal operates with fresh water, provided by two artificial lakes, whose levels are very low due to lower rainfall.

To cope with this historic climatic phenomenon, the canal administration decided to restrict shipping traffic for a period of one year, thus keeping the liners waiting.

The number of ships authorized to cross the canal was reduced to 32 per day, compared with 40 under normal circumstances. The draft (depth of the submerged hull) was limited to 13.4 meters, as opposed to the previous limit of 15.2 meters.

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