• DATVF.ATLPHL
    1.707
    -0.036
    -2.1%
  • DATVF.CHIATL
    1.840
    -0.138
    -7%
  • DATVF.DALLAX
    0.937
    0.021
    2.3%
  • DATVF.LAXDAL
    1.421
    -0.025
    -1.7%
  • DATVF.SEALAX
    0.971
    -0.035
    -3.5%
  • DATVF.PHLCHI
    1.033
    -0.036
    -3.4%
  • DATVF.LAXSEA
    2.041
    -0.059
    -2.8%
  • DATVF.VEU
    1.527
    -0.070
    -4.4%
  • DATVF.VNU
    1.404
    -0.040
    -2.8%
  • DATVF.VSU
    1.179
    -0.002
    -0.2%
  • DATVF.VWU
    1.506
    -0.047
    -3%
  • ITVI.USA
    9,646.100
    305.090
    3.3%
  • OTRI.USA
    6.600
    -0.170
    -2.5%
  • OTVI.USA
    9,653.700
    312.670
    3.3%
  • TLT.USA
    2.760
    0.020
    0.7%
  • WAIT.USA
    156.000
    -2.000
    -1.3%
  • DATVF.ATLPHL
    1.707
    -0.036
    -2.1%
  • DATVF.CHIATL
    1.840
    -0.138
    -7%
  • DATVF.DALLAX
    0.937
    0.021
    2.3%
  • DATVF.LAXDAL
    1.421
    -0.025
    -1.7%
  • DATVF.SEALAX
    0.971
    -0.035
    -3.5%
  • DATVF.PHLCHI
    1.033
    -0.036
    -3.4%
  • DATVF.LAXSEA
    2.041
    -0.059
    -2.8%
  • DATVF.VEU
    1.527
    -0.070
    -4.4%
  • DATVF.VNU
    1.404
    -0.040
    -2.8%
  • DATVF.VSU
    1.179
    -0.002
    -0.2%
  • DATVF.VWU
    1.506
    -0.047
    -3%
  • ITVI.USA
    9,646.100
    305.090
    3.3%
  • OTRI.USA
    6.600
    -0.170
    -2.5%
  • OTVI.USA
    9,653.700
    312.670
    3.3%
  • TLT.USA
    2.760
    0.020
    0.7%
  • WAIT.USA
    156.000
    -2.000
    -1.3%
American ShipperShipping

Union group, Panama Canal clash over safety study

The International Transport Workers Federation is claiming that a new study raises questions about the safety of navigation in the Central American waterway, while the Panama Canal Authority says the report’s claims are unproven and contain errors.

   The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and Panama Canal Administration (ACP) are clashing over claims by the labor group that a study has raised concerns about the safety of the new canal locks due to open in June.
   The ITF said in a press release that it commissioned the study at the behest of Panamanian unions and claims the ACP has refused “to engage in dialogue on matters such as training, as well as the technical and construction issues that have led to delays in the operation of the new infrastructure.”
   The ITF said the study found:
     • The locks’ dimensions are too small for safe operation (with both gates closed);
     • There are no refuge areas for the tugboats inside the locks, leaving no room for failure (human error, miscommunication, broken lines or engine failure);
     • The bollard pull or towing power of tugs is insufficient;
     • And control of vessels is compromised under the average environmental conditions present in that geographic area. The main reasons were the low power of the tugboats and the required bollard pull. With milder conditions the exercise was concluded safely.
   ITF said the study recommends that a complete risk analysis and special training should be carried out to avoid any accidents that may result in loss of life or pollution.
   The study was conducted by Fundação Homem de Mar (FHM), a foundation established by Brazil’s National Union of Merchant Marine Officers, “in response to safety concerns raised by its Panamanian member unions.”
   ACP panned the study, saying ITF’s claims that it was based on mathematical models were not true “and do not include data from physical navigation tests as that been done in preparation for operations in the expanded canal. It therefore lacks scientific accuracy and credibility. In addition, the authors have not transited through the Panama Canal and are not trained to do so.”
   ACP said it has spent “10 years to methodically and professionally evaluate and analyze the design of the Expanded Panama Canal’s locks. This process included conducting internal and external studies to determine how the new locks should operate.
   “After this in-depth process, the Panama Canal made the informed decision to embrace the industry standard of using up to four tugs to navigate ships,” it added. “Outside industry experts concluded that the ACP’s decision was correct.”
   “We commend all who have been involved in this project over the past 10 years,” said Captain Peter Pusztai, Panama Canal pilot training coordinator. “The ITF’s claims are unproven and contain many errors. Despite their false claims, we look forward to transforming the maritime industry through the opening of the expanded Panama Canal.”
   ACP said in 2015 alone, it “invested more than $3 million to upgrade its center for simulation, research and maritime development with additional rigorous mathematical models to further train pilots and tugboat captains to operate within the expanded locks.”
   It also noted it has invested more than $8 million in a scale model maneuvering training facility, which complements simulation training. The 35.3-acre training facility features docking bays, replicas of the new and existing locks, gates, and chambers, all at a 1:25 scale for pilots and tugboat captain training.

Show More

Chris Dupin

Chris Dupin has written about trade and transportation and other business subjects for a variety of publications before joining American Shipper and Freightwaves.
Close