The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has dismissed a critical safety report on its new locks as “inadmissible”, claiming the study did not have all the facts correct.
The safety study into the Panama Canal expansion, commissioned by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), was carried out by Brazil’s Fundação Homem de Mar (FHM). The study, which used simulations, suggests the safety of manoeuvrability is compromised as 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); and the bollard pull was deemed insufficient.
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 much delayed expansion of the canal has had more than its fair share of bad news tales in recent years. It is finally set to open in the next couple of months, ushering in significant changes to world trading patterns.