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Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is to impose new depth restrictions on ships due to drought that has left water levels falling in lakes that form part of the waterway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.Ships seeking to cross the waterway must comply with a maximum draught of 39 feet (11.89m) beginning on 18 April, authorities have said.

The “temporary and preventive measures” are connected to local climate impacts of El Niño, the seasonal weather phenomenon that has caused a drought in the canal’s watershed, and will be implemented in six-inch (15cm) depth increments to be announced at least four weeks in advance.

The Panama Canal Authority added that ships loaded after 21 March would need to comply with the new restrictions. It predicted the impact on operations would be minimal.