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One in 50 ships suffer fender benders while transiting new Panama Canal

One in 50 of the transits through the expanded Panama Canal between June and January have resulted in damage to either ships or the waterway, according to an investigation by the Associated Press.

A journalist for the newswire recently took a voyage along the canal in which he described how a number of ship scrapes have already taken their toll on the $5.25bn upgraded intercontinental transport link.

“Along the way there were multiple places where the black rubber cushion defenses were visibly worn down, hanging into the water or missing entirely. In one spot a pile of dislodged bumpers sat on the side of the locks, apparently waiting to be hauled away,” the AP report noted.

When quizzed by AP, the Panama Canal Authority admitted that 2% of the 700 transits in the seven months since the grand opening in June last year had resulted in damage to locks or ships.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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