Towage & Piloting



1) Towing is compulsory:

a) For sailing boats without a propulsive engine or with an engine of inadequate capacity.

b) For ships of 800 Net Registered tonnage and over.

c) For ships of less than 800 Net Registered tonnage, in cases where the Service deems a passage without towing insecure, on the strength of definite evidence.

d) For ships carrying explosives, inflammable and dangerous cargoes in general, as well as for empty Oil tankers.

2) The Canal Service is obliged to furnish a tug to ships of less than 800 Net Registered tonnage, if so requested by the Master.

3) Towing operations are performed by the tugs provided by the Canal for that purpose.

4) While negotiating the Canal, the ships engine must be kept running, granted that the chief function of the tug is to keep the ship on the canal’s axis.

5) The ship must provide the cables and hawsers required for towing with her engines idle.




1) Piloting through the Canal is compulsory for all towed ships.
For ships not under tow, piloting is optional, unless the Canal Service deems it indispensable. Piloting during the hours of night is compulsory for all ships over 100 Net registered tonnage.

2) To prevent accidents during the passage through the Canal, the pilots must check whether the rudder functions regularly. If any damage or abnormality of function is thus ascertained, it must at once be reported to the Canal Service, for the purpose of prohibiting the ship’s Passage.
3) The pilots set their experience and knowledge of the conditions in the Canal at the disposal of the ship’s Masters, and offer their advise to the Masters, who take that advise into consideration. The Masters are the only responsible agents for any accident in which their ship is involved, that occurs on board ship, amongst the crew and/or to the property of the Canal, arising from whatever cause.
4) In a situation where the execution of a very rapid manoeuvre is necessary, the Master may allow the pilot to issue directly the orders required for the steering of the ship. The Master is not, however, thereby relieved of his responsibilities.
5) Masters of ships are obliged to come to stand – still and in such a way as to allow the mooring of the pilot boat on the leeward side, for the safe boarding and dropping of the pilot and the employees of the Company assigned to the boat.
6) Masters of ships are obliged to provide the pilot and delegated Company employees with all information and attestations necessary under these present regulations.
7) The pilots are members of the pilot station personnel and are assigned to a ship on each particular occasion by the Canal Service. At the request of the Master, more than one pilot may be placed at the disposal of a ship.
8) The pilots are entitled to no additional fee, bonus, or consideration whatsoever.