Argentine Coast Guard Authorities recommend maximum drafts in the River Parana

26 February 2003 No.465
According to our correspondent in Buenos Aires, Pandi Liquidadores S.R.L., local Coast Guard Authorities have issued a notice related to the safety navigation of vessels loading up River Parana where they are "recommending" a draft not above 34 feet for the reasons stated therein. Attached herewith please find free English translation of Coast Guard's notice provided by the correspondent.
We believe that this information would be useful for vessels being fixed to the voyage passing the River Parana - River Plate area.

[free English translation]

Argentinean Coast Guard

Buenos Aires, 10th February 2003
Ref: "Recommendation on maximum drafts"

Mr.Manager of Pandi Liquisadors SRL - Alberto Trigub Esq.:  

I have the pleasure of writing to you put you in notice that this Maritime Authority has noticed that while sailing the waterways from Santa Fe to the ocean in several occasions vessels with drafts above 34 feet have caused damage to the channels and delays that affect the smoothness of the traffic, this situation considerably increase the risk of grounding and other incidents that have a negative effect on the safety of navigation and the protection of the environment.

From the study carried out to analyze the current situation, it has been noted that though the vessel in such a draft condition is cleared taking into account the reference level depth of the Parana river, her navigation for overcoming critical passages of the River Plate (strictly respecting safety margins) is totally subject to the occurrence of a tide of high levels, which if does not occur will cause delays in her navigation and besides the potential risk of obstructing the channel due to her incapability to resume sailing and the lack of anchorage areas with a depth compatible to the draft of the vessel.

In this condition, the regulation of navigation carried out by the vessel in draft, among other aspects, is subject to the calculation of the most favorable moment to overcome the reference level depth of the waterway with an adequate water height. This procedure to target necessarily incorporates a margin of error, either due to the own calculation of the high tide in the critical site and/or to the arrival time of the vessel to that site in the favorable moment.

Although there might be favorable hydrological conditions due to extraordinary tides, it is understood that those should not be taken into account since they are temporary situations and that should only be taken into account in order to improve the safety in navigation, specially when there are adverse hydro-meteorological conditions the increment on the safety margin results very convenient.

It must be added to what was said above the negative consequences that may arise out of the hydrodynamic effects (SQUAT and SINKAGE) that cause an increase in draft. This situation may cause that the vessel could not maintain at all times 2 feet clearance under keel.

All what was explained above means that there is a need of including an additional safety factor to overcome the adverse situations and minimize the risk of navigation in these channels. Therefore, I put you in notice that notes have been addressed to various organizations related to the shipping industry in order for them to give notice to their associates that this Coast Guard recommends that vessels using the main waterways from Santa Fe to the ocean, do it with draft not above 34 feet.

The above said is based, among other reasons, on

-The need to improve standards in the safety of navigation, environmental preservation, and protection of the channels.
-The provisions of Coast Guard Ordinance 4/00 DPSN (Addenda 1 y 2) in respect of the safety margins.
-The current values of the reference level depths in the main waterway.
-The hydrodynamic effects that cause an additional submersion of the vessel.
-Estimation of cargo based on the expected tide.
-The provisions of the specifications of the tender of public works (dredging, buoying,and beaconing).


Roberto Raul Barrero
Prefecto General
Director de Policia de Seguridad
de la Navegacion