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Panama Canal – Green Vessel Classification System

SSM Roundel

Steamship Mutual

Published: March 29, 2023

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) have recently issued an Advisory to Shipping No. A-12-2023 on the implementation of the Green Vessel Classification System as part of their ongoing commitment to protecting the environment and contribution towards international efforts on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. 

As stated in the advisory this new initiative will be part of the Panama Canal Green Route Plan 2050 and the 2030 Carbon Neutrality Commitment.

Effective 1st May 2023 vessels over 38.1m (125feet), intending to transit the canal will be required to provide the authority with the below three details as maybe applicable to the vessel.

  1. The International Energy Efficiency Certificate (IEEC) and the Supplement to the IEEC which states the value for the Energy Efficiency Design Index, attained and required, by the vessel or the values of the attained and required Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index as may apply to the vessel, under the MARPOL VI Regulation.   
  2. The ratio of the bow thruster (horsepower)/arrival displacement of the vessel.  The contribution of bow thrusters in manoeuvring during the lockage assists in reducing the canal tug emissions and is governed by this ratio thereby the need for the authority to require that this information be provided.
  3. A Fuel Declaration to validate the use of zero carbon fuels during the transit. The carbon value of the fuel as recorded in the bunker delivery note issued to the vessel at the time of bunkering. 

The above information, collected by the Panama Canal Authority through the Maritime Single Window Application (VUMPA), will be verified by the ACP Boarding Officer and will be used to create a database which will allow the authority to carry out manoeuvrability and efficiency related assessments and trend analysis of the canal operations and will form a part of the Panama Canal’s ongoing commitment to protect the environment and contribute to international efforts to reduce Green House Gas emissions.

The Panama Canal, Green Connection Environmental Recognition Program was launched in July 2016 and the process of creating tools and identifying the changes needed to reach carbon neutrality by 2030 was announced in Apr 2021.

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