The Panama Canal is set to hold a lottery to select the first vessel to transit through the Expanded Canal when it is inaugurated on Sunday, June 26.
The Panama Canal Authority has invited its top 15 customers to participate in the drawing, which is to be held April 29 at an administration building in Panama.
Those participating are required to indicated which Neopanamax vessel they would like to make transit, and include the name, type, dimensions. The proposed vessel is required to not surpass a maximum beam of 49 meters and a maximum overall length of 366 meters, or exceed the maximum draft of 12.5 meters. For security purposes, gas carriers will not be considered for the inaugural transit.
The draw will be carried out with ballots labeled with the name of each participant, and a child will select the first ballot and hand it to a Public Notary who will announce the winner of the draw. The same child will pick a second ballot for the shipping line that will be able to deploy a vessel for the inaugural transit in the event that the winner will not be able to deploy an approved vessel for the inauguration.
The Canal Authority says the winner will incur in all costs associated with the transit, including booking fees and other marine services, which will be charged in accordance with Panama Canal published tariffs.
Only one Neopanamax vessel in southbound direction will be allowed to transit the Expanded Canal during the inauguration day. Regular commercial transits through the Expanded Canal will commence on June 27. As gCaptain reported, the first commercial reservation was booked by the NYK Line LPG tanker Linden Pride, which has a length of 754.59 feet and a beam of 120.08 feet.
Vessels are classified as Neopanamax if their dimensions are over 966 feet in length or over 107 feet in beam.