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News ID: 67764 |
Publish Date: 11:47 - 25 July 2016

Panama Canal's New Locks Recorded First Accident

A 8,500 TEU Neopanamax containership owned by China Cosco Shipping (COSCO), made contact with the wall while transiting the Expanded Panama Canal’s new Agua Clara locks, local media reported.

Panama Canal
The containership’s hull, MV Xin Fei Zhou, was reportedly damaged and breached, however, the canal’s traffic was not affected as the wall suffered only a minor damage, MANA correspondent reported. 
Earlier this year, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) raised in its joint study with Brazil’s Fundação Homem de Mar (FHM) considerable safety concerns related to the Expanded Panama Canal’s new locks.
Industry bodies warned that at 427 meters long and 55 meters wide, the new locks are too small for the Neopanamaxes. The largest vessels can measure up to 366 meters long and 49 meters wide, leaving a distance of just 6 meters across the width of the canal.
The study found that under windy conditions the maneuverability of vessels would be compromised, making accidents likely due to the lock’s narrow dimensions.
However, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) dismissed the study, putting in question its scientific accuracy and credibility.
On June 26, the canal was inaugurated with the passage of another COSCO’s ship, COSCO Shipping Panama.
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