Starting from 1st August and until 30 November 2019, the Panama Canal will implement speed limits aimed at protecting cetaceans, including whales, dolphins and other large aquatic mammals, during their nearby seasonal migration. As such, ships should proceed at a speed of not more than 10 knots in specified areas.
These measures seek not only to protect cetaceans from collisions with vessels, but also to promote an orderly management of the ocean and its resources,
…explained Administrator Jorge L. Quijano.
Panama has monitored this requirement since 1 December 2014 when maritime traffic separation devices (TSS) were installed by both the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean entry points to the Canal.
These recommendations are included in the Maritime Traffic Organization publication issued by the IMO that aims to increase navigation safety in converging zones and areas of high-traffic density, or where the freedom of movement of vessels is limited due to space restrictions, obstacles to navigation, depth limitations, unfavorable weather conditions, exploitation of fishery resources or sensitive coastal and marine areas flagged as important for the protection of species and their habitats.
The joint work and the holistic approach of the Canal’s Green Route not only promote the preservation of biodiversity, but also contribute to national conservation efforts through commitments made to the IMO and international maritime transport community,
…added the Panama Canal Environmental Specialist, Alexis Rodríguez.
The above initiative is part of the Panama Canal’s broader efforts to incentivize environmental stewardship and includes watershed conservation initiatives, innovative water-saving basins, and other programs aimed at implementing technologies and standards to help reduce GHG emissions.
This announcement comes only a week after the Panama Canal and UN Environment signed a cooperation agreement to join efforts on sustainable development and combating climate change.
In line with its commitment to sustainability, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced in May improvements to its Green Connection Environmental Recognition Program, which sees vessels that comply with the highest environmental performance standards.