Effective 01 Oct 2023, all ships with a beam of 109 feet (32.2 m) or more transiting the Panama Canal must have a fixed (non-portable) piloting unit. This unit must have Real Time Kinematics (RTK) for submeter accuracy. It also must be able to communicate with the pilot's tablet and the SafePilot’s software via wireless network. It must provide stable and long-range connection in all conning positions during Panama Canal transit.
Refer Advisory to Shipping No. A-32-2022 from Panama Canal Authority.
Once this new requirement is effective, the compliance of the piloting unit will become part of the ship´s arrival inspection.
The above-mentioned requirement is mandatory. Non-compliance may result in delay of transit and / or additional costs, as well as possible fines.
There are two options for complying with this requirement:
- Permanently install an approved piloting unit.
- If not installed, inform Panama Canal Authority and arrange for temporary installation during arrival inspection. This will involve additional costs.