Post Panamax Vessels: New Challenges for Pilots


The post-Panamax and mega-ship era has brought with it a whole new range of problems for both ports and seafarers, especially regarding pilot training, MSRC aims to tackle this.

With the inauguration of the Panama Canal expansion paving the way for new and larger ships to call at different ports, the Maritime Simulation and Resource Centre (MSRC) has developed leading-edge training for pilots by pilots

Using four fully equipped interactive simulators, the training session analyzes the challenges of Post-Panamax vessels on pilotage and port operations. The arrival of Neo or Post Panamax vessels in waterways and ports, which in most instances were not designed for theses new classes of ships, brings new demands on pilots and all aspects of ship operations.

Operations that were previously regarded as routine now become more complex: from traffic management to tug requirements, transit speeds to crane operations, weather windows to blind sectors: many aspects of ship operations need to be re-evaluated in order for these ships to accomplish safe and efficient stays in port.

With the collaboration of pilots from the Corporation of Lower St. Lawrence Pilots (CLSLP), the MSRC’s specialists developed Pilot Grade Post Panamax ship models to be used in its existing geographic training areas.



In an effort to ensure that the models were as true to their real-life namesake, great attention was paid to stability, windage, squat and interaction with banks and other vessels.

Captain Sean Arbogast, Vice President of Houston Pilots, said: “MSRC provides world class training in a world class environment.  Paul Racicot and his staff developed a neo-panamax container ship class for the Houston pilots; it is now an approved course for our continuing education program. 

“We very much appreciate their forward thinking and vision in developing a class that helps us navigate the challenges of these new vessels.”

A division of the CLSLP, the MSRC’s mission is to ensure training and development for pilots belonging to the CLSLP and to share its expertise in simulation with other pilots and professionals in the maritime domain. The MSRC is located in Quebec City, Canada, the oldest port city in North America.

Find more information on MSRC in the supplier directory.

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