Multiple vessels of the CMB fleet regularly transit the Panama Canal. However, the first capesize vessel of the CMB fleet to successfully transit the Panama Canal is a remarkable acheivement.
After completion of her previous voyage at Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico Bocimar’s Mineral Belgium arrived in ballast condition at Balboa, Panama on 15th of February 2018. Shore workshops attended the vessel at the anchorage to convert her in order to comply with the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) requirements. The conversion works mainly comprised fitting additional mooring bits and fairleads on several positions on deck. On 26th of February the vessel was inspected and accepted by the Panama Canal Authorities for transit of the canal with a subsequent slot 3 days later.
The vessel heaved up her anchor early AM on 1st of March and approached the Cocoli locks at daybreak. After a smooth passage of the 3 chamber lock system the vessel had risen about 26 meter above sea level to navigate all well-known sections of the canal such as the Culebra Cut and the Gatun Lake. Shortly after local noon time the vessel arrived at the Agua Clara locks and descended into the Atlantic basin where she safely anchored at Cristobal inner roads to receive bunkers after completing a flawless transit.
Mineral Belgium has loaded a full cargo of coal from Puerto Drummond and is currently underway to the Far East, via Cape of Good Hope.
Weather conditions were near-perfect during the entire transit and have allowed for impressive video images of the transit. Both a time lapse and drone footage are available on the CMB NV YouTube channel.