The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) issued an advisory, informing that vessels designed to operate with functioning air conditioning systems have been arriving for transit with their air conditioning systems disabled or not available for use.
As explained, due to high temperatures and humidity prevalent in Panama, personnel required to work onboard these vessels during transit are adversely affected by the failure of this equipment.
Therefore, the ACP recommends that vessels equipped with wheelhouses with sealed windows that cannot be opened for ventilation, be equipped with a properly working air conditioning system or units that provide an adequate environment for pilots.
The air conditioning system is part of the vessel’s equipment, and as such, should be available for use during transit. Consequently, when the air conditioning system fails, forced ventilation fans must be made available.
Further, the same controlled environment shall be offered for pilot accommodations, as indicated in OP Notice to Shipping N-1-2017, ‟Vessel Requirements”, Section 22 ‟Pilot Accommodations On Board Transiting Vessels”.
ACP warns that if working areas onboard are deemed inadequate, in order to provide an adequate environment, the transit may be divided into segments. Should the vessel’s transit be suspended or segmented, and additional resources are assigned, the additional costs will be charged to the vessel.