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  1. The least depth in the approach or channel to an area, such as a port or anchorage, governing the maximum draft of vessels that can enter. 2. The least depth within the limits of a channel; it restricts the safe use of the channel to drafts of less than that depth. The centerline controlling depth of a channel applies only to the channel centerline; lesser depths may exist in the remainder of the channel. The mid-channel controlling depth of a channel is the controlling depth of only the middle half of the channel.

Related Terms


The vertical distance from a given water level to the sea bottom. The charted depth is the vertical distance from the tidal datum to the bottom. The least depth in the approach or channel to an area, such as a port or anchorage, governing the maximum draft of vessels that can enter is called the controlling depth.


  1. A line drawn on a chart to indicate the limits of safe navigation for a vessel of specific draft


The process of transferring cargo from one vesel to another to reduce the draft of the first vessel. Done to allow a vessel to enter a port with limited depth or to help free a grounded vessel.


An area generally outside port limits that is specifically designated as suitable for the transshipment of oil or other materials from large ships to smaller ones. As the purpose of transshipment is usually to reduce the draft of the larger vessel to allow her to proceed to port, the operation is often known as lightening and the area may be called lightening area or cargo transfer area


  1. A modified U-tube manometer used to measure draft of low gas heads, such as draft pressure in a furnace, or small differential pressures, for example, less than 2 inches (5 centimeters) of water. 2. A hydrostatic depth indicator, installed in the side of a vessel below the light load line, to indicate amount of submergence.


(TML) - refers to the maximum amount of moisture allowable in a shipment of granular (dry bulk) material in order to keep it from acting like a liquid when external force such as the rolling of a ship is applied. These limits are listed in The Code of Safe Practice For Solid Bulk Cargoes Also known as the BC Code. This code is adopted as part of the SOLAS Convention. This limits are derived from a prescribed test of the material to determine the Flow Moisture Point.


Safe port


A channel that has been artificially widened or deepened for the safe passage of vessels etc.


Parallel Mid-Body Length - describes the middle side area of a tanker's or other vessel's exterior hull which is flat and usually vertical. This is usually the area of the hull that is in contact with the pier when a vessel is docked. This area is measured from aft of the bow where the hull reaches maximum beam and then proceeds aft with little variance until the hull recesses again towards the centerline near the stern. This area is the same on both sides of a vessel and therefore runs in parallel down the middle of the ship. The length of the mid-body is important to know when voyage planning to determine if a vessel will safely be able to moor at a particular facility


A key provision of the SAFE Port Act of 2006 and is part of the International Container Security scanning project. It builds on its current partnership between the Container Security Initiative and the Megaports Initiative. It expands the use of scanning and imaging equipment to examine more U.S. bound containers, not just those determined to be high risk.

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