Unusual weather in Colombia has increased the risk of grounding at the port of Barranquilla. Several recommendations have been made regarding navigation and pilotage.
Gard and other P&I clubs have recently experienced several serious casualties in the port of Barranquilla. The port of Barranquilla is located on the west bank of the Rio Magdalena some 10 miles upriver from the mouth, known as Bocas de Ceniza, in the Caribbean Sea. The port receives some 300 vessels monthly. The purpose of this circular is to inform about the situation in Barranquilla and to help members and clients to assess the increased risk when entering or leaving this port.
The 2010 rainy season in Colombia, with unusually large volumes of rain falling for considerable periods of time has been the worst in 40 years. The rainiest months of the year are usually April and October, but in 2010 due to the La Niña phenomenon, the late rainy season started in late August and is now running into December.
Colombian climate experts estimate that the rains will continue well into 2011, probably until March, causing the late rainy season of 2010 to merge with the early rainy season of 2011. At the time of writing, this year’s rains have so far left more than 130 people dead and close to two million affected.