Implementation of AIS in the Panama Canal

With reference to our previous article regarding

AIS implementation in the Panama Canal for vessels over 300 gross tons or over 20 metres LOA, we have now received further information regarding implementation and the cost involved of hiring an AIS for canal transits for those vessels not yet equipped with AIS.

With effect from 1 July 2003 the Panama Canal Authority will implement the mandatory carriage of Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) in Panama Canal waters for vessels over 300 gross tons or 20 metres LOA. The AIS transponders must meet International Maritime Organisation (IMO) standards.

SOLAS 74, as amended by the Diplomatic Conference held last December, requires that AIS be fitted to tankers not later than the first survey for safety equipment on or after 1 July 2003.

From 1 July 2003, as a temporary measure for any vessel not yet fitted with AIS, the Panama Canal Authority will provide AIS units to vessels for a nominal rental fee of USD 150.00.

The relevant Advisory to Shipping No. A-05-2003 can be found at:


: Philip Shenton