A China COSCO vessel underway. (Not the ship that allided with the wall of the new Panama Canal).


It’s been barely open for a month, and the new Panama Canal has had a “fender bender”- and apparently it’s not the first. China COSCO Shipping vessel Xin Fei Zhou hit the wall while transiting the Agua Clara locks of the newly expanded Panama Canal.

This latest incident, the 3rd in less than 30 days since the new canal opened, has re-raised design concerns about the safety of transit for larger ships due to the narrowness of the lock.

Photo courtesy of the Panama Canal Authority


gCaptainAn independent study commissioned by the International Transport Workers’ Federation released earlier this year concluded that the safety of maneuverability within the new locks is compromised due to several factors, namely that the dimensions of the new lock chambers are too small for the configuration of the tugboats under various environmental conditions.

The Panama Canal Authority says the incident is under investigation. Read more from gCaptain and The Guardian here…

posted by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee