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Old 18-08-2012, 17:29   #46
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Re: Panama Canal Passage

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Originally Posted by micah719 View Post
Checked on Canal ownership....apparently a Hong Kong billionaire owns it, so effectively, the PRC does.
That is a MYTH!

The Panama Canal is owned by PANAMA and operated by the Panama Canal Authority and there is not one Chinese person on the Board of Directors.

Panamanian Law dictates that:
"The Panama Canal is defined by their law to be an inalienable patrimony of the Republic of Panama; it may therefore not be sold, assigned, mortgaged, or otherwise encumbered or transferred"

This myth was spread based on the operation of the container ports at both ends of the Canal.

Shortly after Panama took control of the Canal, they signed a 50 year lease with Hutchinson Whampoa Limited, a Chinese Shipping Company that has large holdings throughout the world to operte the Shipping Container Ports. This was misinterpreted as giving control of the Canal to the Chinse.

From that point on political conservatives ran around claiming the sky was failing and the Chinese had taken over the Canal, which is simply not true.

Reference links:
Hutchison Whampoa - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

CNN.com - World's top port operator expands empire - June 1, 2001

The Mil & Aero Blog: Chinese company doesnt operate the Panama Canal ... just both ends of it
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Old 19-08-2012, 05:58   #47
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Re: Panama Canal Passage

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Originally Posted by micah719 View Post
Checked on Canal ownership....apparently a Hong Kong billionaire owns it, so effectively, the PRC does...
Check again.
|As Tom noted, The Republic of Panama owns and operates the canal.
Panama Ports Company, a subsidiary of Hutcheson Port Holdings of Hong Kong shipping firm Hutcheson-Whampoa, Ltd. (Li Ka-shing), has a 25-year lease (with a 25-year renewal option) to operate port facilities at Balboa (Pacific side) and Cristobal (Atlantic).
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Old 19-08-2012, 06:57   #48
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Re: Panama Canal Passage

Ah, ok, thanks for the correction.
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Old 23-08-2012, 12:19   #49
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Re: Panama Canal Passage

We transited the Canal in May 2012. Don't forget it's CASH ONLY (paid to the Banco) if you do the transit paperwork yourself (it's really easy!). It costs about $1500 with about $750 refunded to your bank account (wire transfer, etc..) after you transit.

Lines and tires can be rented from the local taxi drivers (check with the local Panama City Cruiser's Net VHF Ch 74 for driver's phone numbers and any info you need). Line rental is about $125 for the 4 lines, and the plastic wrapped tires are $2 each delivered to the dock for you - Figure 4-5 tires per side of your boat and have a couple free fenders to toss between your boat and the Tugs or other boats you'll side tie with. The Tug's rails are fairly high and your crew will have to adjust tires and fenders as needed. The Tug crews are great and will help with each tie-up along side them.

You can always get volunteers from the anchorage to help transit as they want the experience before taking their boat(s) through...and you may want the same experience before you transit...it's very helpful and then you'll know what to expect.

Have a Transit date in mind, but also a little flexable as you are put into the canal and Adviser's schedule...They don't have Advisers available everyday. This can pose problems if you have family coming to "crew" for the transit and not meeting their schedules/flights/etc... Your boat will need 4 line handlers and a Captain, the Adviser is NOT a line handler - so minimum is 6 persons aboard during transit.

Your transit may take one day (N to S) or two days (S to N) be prepared to spend the night in Lake Gatun and take LOTS of bottled water, sodas, etc.... a lot more than you think you'll need. Note that you will provide a (hot) lunch for the Adviser, but we've served sub-sandwiches, wraps, cookies, and lots of snacks which the Advisers loved.
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Old 23-08-2012, 15:49   #50
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Re: Panama Canal Passage

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Originally Posted by svWindfall View Post
Your transit may take one day (N to S) or two days (S to N) be prepared to spend the night in Lake Gatun and take LOTS of bottled water, sodas, etc.... a lot more than you think you'll need. Note that you will provide a (hot) lunch for the Adviser, but we've served sub-sandwiches, wraps, cookies, and lots of snacks which the Advisers loved.
I would add that boats who cannot make at least 7.5 knots should plan a two day passage, since they do not let recreational vessels routinely transit at night.

Currently, they are moving large vessels southbound (Caribbean to Pacific) from 12pm to 12am and then ships going northbound (Pacific to Caribbean) move from 12am to 12pm, which effects recreational vessel transits

Because of this, I think it is the other way around about passages, plan on a two day southbound (N to S) passage and a one day passage for a northbound passge (S to N), unless you cannot make speed.

The other thing to clarify is that vessels 65 feet or greater are assigned a Canal Pilot, who assumes Navigational Control of the Vessel from the Captain. Canal Pilots, like the rest of the world are Licensed Merchant Marine Captains. The Panama Canal is the only place in the world where a Pilot actually assumes this role.

Vessels under 65 feet are assigned Canal Advisors, which DO NOT HAVE any control of the vessel, but are there to advise on Canal procedures. Most are not licensed Captains and have very little trainning on ship handling. Some are good, some have no clue, it is up to you as Captain to make the proper decisions for the safety of your crew and vessel. When in doubt you are the decision maker, not the Advisor. If you have problems ask to speak with the Advisor's Supervisor.

Finally, though it is fairly straight forward to do-it-yourself in regards to the Canal Paperwork, using an agent can save many headaches and a lot of time. In addition, using an agent normally exempts you from the Canal Deposit and the wait to get your deposit back from the Canal Authority.

The only thing required for you to do when using an agent is move your vessel to the designated area for measuring. After that agents takes care of all paperwork, will find qualified line handlers, tires and lines, if so desired. Agent Fees run from $300 to $600 depending on the agent and rentals.

If you use an agent make sure to to get references from other boats, as like anything else there are some bad ones and some good ones!

Finally, if you hire line handlers, the Standard Line Handler fees run about $65 - $75 for one day and $120 for two days (Per person), which you pay directly to the line handlers at the end of the passage (Not before).
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Old 23-08-2012, 16:42   #51
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Re: Panama Canal Passage

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Originally Posted by jeremiason View Post
.....

Vessels under 65 feet are assigned Canal Advisors, which DO NOT HAVE any control of the vessel, but are there to advise on Canal procedures. Most are not licensed Captains and have very little trainning on ship handling. Some are good, some have no clue, .....
I did a bunch of crossings last year and the beginning of this year. I think it was a total of having 12 advisors onboard. All were good, experienced and pleasant. The few times I've heard cruisers tell me about an experience with an advisor who didn't have a clue, the story usually turned out that the cruiser/skipper didn't have a clue and was just plain unprepared.

But I do agree that you, as the skipper, are in control and in charge of making sure there is good communication going on. The biggest issue I've found with advisors is that they often don't know what exactly the plan is till just before entering a lock. This means the info gets out late to the skipper and even latter to the foredeck line handlers.
Doing a Canal transit is a lot like piloting a plane - hours and hours of boredom interrupted by moments of shear terror.
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Old 28-08-2012, 00:13   #52
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I would encourage trusting your gut as much as your advisor if you have any question and taking your time to tie and untie. We went through with no issues and it was easy enough that I expect almost all boats pass without issues. Our first advisor was great, but the second one didn't seem to have been on sailboats (wanted to tie us to the wall).
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Old 12-09-2012, 17:27   #53
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Re: Panama Canal Passage Info - January 2012

Thanks for your very comprehensive report on Panama transit procedures, much appreciated as we consider doing it again after 15 years.
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Old 30-09-2012, 02:20   #54
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Re: Panama Canal Passage

So How Much does a passage cost for a 30 to 33 feet Sailboat?
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Old 30-09-2012, 22:14   #55
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Re: Panama Canal Passage

Roy, Planning a Canal Transit 3rd week in December, Pacific to Atlantic--- 38 foot overall Sailboat- 13'1" beam- 15 grt

Pleae advise all costs and likley waiting time 3rd to 4th week in December. Is the Canal closed between Christmas and New Years?

Thanks!

Jeffry
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Old 02-10-2012, 23:23   #56
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Re: Panama Canal Passage

Roy, Planning a Canal Transit 3rd week in December, Pacific to Atlantic--- 38 foot overall Sailboat- 13'1" beam- 15 grt

Pleae advise all costs and likley waiting time 3rd to 4th week in December. Is the Canal closed between Christmas and New Years?

Thanks!

Jeffry
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:27   #57
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Re: Panama Canal Passage

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Originally Posted by Captain Jeffry View Post
Roy, Planning a Canal Transit 3rd week in December, Pacific to Atlantic--- 38 foot overall Sailboat- 13'1" beam- 15 grt

Pleae advise all costs and likley waiting time 3rd to 4th week in December. Is the Canal closed between Christmas and New Years?

Thanks!

Jeffry
The ACP website lists the transit costs. The Canal does not close for the holidays. Handline northbound transits do not normally have significant delays.
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:47   #58
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Re: Panama Canal Passage

We went through Pacific to Atlantic several days before Christmas 2011 about one week after we arrived in Panama City. After we got our OK from Admeasurement Office we waited two days for passage.
We went with another sailboat. There was almost no sailboat traffic.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:08   #59
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Re: Panama Canal Passage

Thanks! Very helpfull. I transited Atlantic to Pacfic in 53' sail boat, 2004. 3 abreast. Great experience!

Cheers
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Old 13-10-2012, 10:23   #60
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Re: Panama Canal Passage

One last bit of info on crossing the Canal... You may want to cover your solar panels with padding - the 4 Canal line handlers will throw the monkey-fisted lines to your boat for your line handlers to catch. Yes, they are very accurate with throwing the lines to your boat, but....how much is your solar panel(s) or window(s) worth?
Just a list bit of info and hopefully may helps save a window or solar panel on your boat.
Now....get out there, catch those lines, and have fun crossing "the Ditch"!
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