Argentina – Groundings in the River Parana

8 June 2015 No.734

Pandi Liquidadores S.R.L., our correspondents in Argentina, has kindly provided the Association with advice on how to minimise the risk of grounding in the River Parana.


In recent weeks, four vessels have grounded in the River Parana in the area between km 280 and km 290.  The chart of the area shows that a vessel has to go through very sharp bends in the leg known as “Paso Abajo Los Ratones”, where the river current flows downstream at about 2.5 knots, though this may vary depending on the water level of the river.  A combination of factors could cause a loss of control of the vessel and consequent grounding.


The authorities have indicated that vessels navigating through the Paso Abajo Los Ratones must remain within the dredged channel.  Although the pilot carrying out the handling of the vessel is responsible for navigation, responsibility for monitoring the conduct of the pilot, and ensuring the ultimate safety of the vessel, remains with the Master.  


Our correspondents therefore recommend that a proper navigation plan should be discussed between the Master and Pilot before navigating the stated section of the river. By doing this the Master will know beforehand the difficulties the vessel is likely to meet on the river and the Pilot can become familiar with the characteristics of the vessel.  In addition, the Master must ensure the ship always maintains the 2 foot under keel clearance for safe passage taking into account the permissible sailing draft as announced by the Coast Guard on a daily basis.


Members whose vessels may navigate the River Parana should pay careful attention to the risk of grounding so that safe navigation can be assured.