Canada: The Panama Canal Authority has successfully completed the first round of tests for the installation of its new Electronic Navigational Chart (ENC) system utilising CARIS software at the Simulation Center, Research and Development Maritime in Panama. This new system will make navigation in the Panama Canal both safer and more efficient.
Currently the Panama Canal carries around 13,000 oceangoing transits each year with a total weight of 300 million tons. This amount of traffic is close to the canal’s capacity, making the safe and efficient handling of transport paramount. The new system will also enhance maritime security, as well as providing more cartographic information, allowing greater precision when navigating through the waterway.
The Panama Canal Authority worked in close partnership with CARIS to provide the data components of the cartographic database of the Panama Canal. This included information relating to the new locks and the depths of the various areas of the sea route. CARIS provided the expertise, training and support to fully utilise the selected CARIS software. The Panama Canal Authority acquired BASE Editor for the creation and management of bathymetric surfaces and S-57 Composer for the production of ENC’s.
The project entailed the creation of two main electronic charts: one for the Atlantic coast and the other for the Pacific coast, as well as other more specific cartographic products within the canal. These ENCs are initially being used in a simulator as part of the training programme for the canal pilots. In future, ENCs will be mandatory for any vessels approaching or intending to transit through the canal.