• Home
  • News
  • The Panama Canal “adrift” due to safety concerns
  • 2018 April 17 13:20

    The Panama Canal “adrift” due to safety concerns

    The NeoPanama locks in the Panama Canal have been surrounded by safety concerns since before the opening, ITF said in its press release.

    A study commissioned by the ITF in 2016 provided an early alert to the Panama Canal Authorities that the operations had more risks than initially considered. The study also provided some suggested solutions on how to minimise the risks which would have prevented some of the incidents that have occurred if the Authorities had been willing to engage with the unions and ITF.

    On the operational and labour relations side, the situation is more complex. “The move from the Canal Authorities to reduce the manning on the tugboats and thereby reducing the Canal’s costs since the construction costs vastly exceeded the initial estimates is too simplistic and only gives a short-term financial gain while the most important element appears to be overlooked or ignored, namely safety of the workers and the safe transit of the vessels and its crew” says Nick Bramley Chair of the ITF Inland Navigation Section.

    “The NeoPanamax vessels have a single set of locks for the crossing which means that an accident or an incident that obstructs the Canal would in fact stop the crossing schedule of all NeoPanamax vessels” says David Heindel, Chair of the ITF Seafarers’ Section.

    The sudden and unilateral decision from the Canal to reduce the manning was not raised or discussed with the crew. Also the new safety operations procedures came unexpectedly. ITF affiliates representing workers in the Canal have informed the ITF that they have requested meetings with the Canal Authorities numerous times in order to have a constructive discussion about the situation and how the Canal can operate safely, effectively and efficiently, but the PCA have consistently ignored or refused to enter into dialogue with the unions and the workers.

    The situation between the PCA and the Tugboat Captains’ Union (UCOC) is worsening day by day. The PCA has threatened with dismissals of around ten (10) Tugboat Captains that are refusing to perform operations they consider unsafe. At the same time, the Canal is demanding two passages of the new locks without a forward tug.

    The lack of focus on safety has already resulted in one casualty and a number of incidents, including collisions that in one case an investigation by the USA National Transportation Safety Board (following a collision between the Panama canal tug Cerro Santiago and the US Coast Guard cutter Tampa) indicated excessive working hours and fatigue as one of major the causes.




2021 December 6

18:37 The Port of Bergen changes the name of the Hurtigruten terminal
18:22 Preliminary results of Volga Basin cargo traffic – 41.39 million tonnes
18:14 Equinor invests in battery storage company
17:55 ENGIE and Masdar form US$5 billion strategic alliance to drive UAE’s green hydrogen economy
17:38 Moody’s upgrades Global Ports’ rating to Ba1 with stable outlook
17:16 Solstad Offshore announces long-term contracts in Brazil
16:44 Port of HaminaKotka cargo turnover in 11M’2021 fell by 1.5%
16:20 TezMedz and Tabiyat.pk signs contract with Maersk for integrated cold chain solutions
16:05 “K” Line obtains VSPS regarding Australian quarantine for car carrier
15:55 LR and InterManager share new insights into the causes of lifeboat accidents
15:50 Sea Port of Saint-Petersburg upgrades its infrastructure
15:14 Diana Shipping announces the acquisition of a resale new-building Capesize dry bulk vessel
14:57 Arctia’s IB Otso sets off for the Bay of Bothnia as the season’s first icebreaker
14:35 Cargo traffic within Azov-Don Basin of Russia’s IWWs fell by 14.2% in 2021
14:03 Jan De Nul receives the transport & installation for Vesterhav Nord & Syd wind farm in Denmark
13:48 Onezhsky Shipyard lays down sixth crab catching ship for Russian Crab Group
13:16 DOTr, PPA unveil P316 million Zamboanga port expansion
12:42 Cargo transportation by Volga-Don Canal decreased by 10.6% in navigation season 2021
12:14 New technology risks must be tackled despite decade of progress in ship safety, warns DNV
11:57 Сruise ship Peotr Veliky made first technological voyage
11:38 Mohammed bin Rashid and Mohamed bin Zayed launch UAE Rail Program
11:14 IAA PortNews’ summary of previous week news
10:51 MABUX: No firm trend on Global bunker market on Dec 06
10:20 New shipyard for large-capacity facilities should be built in Russia – opinion
09:29 Crude oil market sees recovery of prices
09:12 Baltic Dry Index as of December 3

2021 December 5

15:03 GasLog Ltd. places order at DSME for four 174000m3 gas carriers
13:27 USCG holds annual SaR exercise off Maui
12:33 Port of Felixstowe tops 100 million TEU
11:51 Vuosaari fairway deepening project completed on schedule, safely and under budget
10:47 New regional technology clusters in WA and Qld driving growth in Australia’s hydrogen sector

2021 December 4

15:21 MOL and Flotation Energy to explore offshore floating wind in Japan
14:51 Sembcorp Marine's LMG Marin to design world’s first zero-emission fuel tanker
13:09 USCG, royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force sign MOU
12:34 The Hurtigruten terminal has been renamed Jektevik terminal
11:02 Port of Rotterdam Authority embarks on partnerships with three promising maritime companies

2021 December 3

18:26 Hydrographic Company set to establish Center of Engineering and Technical Expertise
18:07 ABP Humber complete oil spill incident management exercise
17:52 Wärtsilä OPTI-DP Engagement Tool supporting the marine industry to configure optimised propulsion arrangements for DP vessels
17:45 Ocean Network Express conducts a joint crisis management drill with Seaspan Corporation
17:40 Transport Strategy of Russia until 2030 with forecast until 2035 published on official portal
17:22 MSC adds Hamburg to its feeder service „Baltic Loop 3“
17:02 Vyborg Shipyard launches KMT01 trawler named Kara Sea
16:32 South African minister visits Port of Rotterdam to discuss hydrogen exports
16:05 PD Ports contracts Konecranes to convert four RTGs to electric
15:31 Four Jones Act CTVs built to ABS Class to support U.S. offshore wind development
15:17 ABS, NYK, MTI and WinGD team-up to verify design with modeling and simulation
14:03 Jurong Port joins the Castor Initiative
13:30 ABS awards sustainability notations to two Harvey Gulf vessels
13:04 Kapitan Dranitsyn and Admiral Makarov icebreakers reinforced icebreaker group on NSR
12:57 Royal IHC delivers key components for “R.B. Weeks” to Weeks Marine
12:42 Icebreaker assistance season begins in White Sea waters
12:17 Sailing practice of 2021 on Mir sailing ship successfully completed
11:21 NCSP Group's consolidated revenue for 9M’2021 rose by 9.3%
10:53 Foreign contractors can be involved to build LNG-powered icebreakers for Arctic
10:38 MABUX: Bunker prices may demonstrate multidirectional changes with tendency to grow on Dec 3
10:29 The Korean Register publishes guidance for containers loading on bulk carriers
10:20 MSU-1 to perform reconstruction of Gorodetsky hydrosystem locks
09:57 Annual repair dredging in Gulf of Ob from 2023 estimated at 5 million cbm
09:35 Crude oil prices rise on OPEC+ decision to keep oil output increase in January