Deficient equipment could cause “catastrophic accident” at Panama Canal

June 23, 2021 Maritime Safety News

After a recent incident, the Union of Captains and Deck Officials (UCOC) of the Panama Canal warned about the “imminent risk” that the the use of “deficient equipment” poses.

According to the UCOC, on June 4 an LPG gas tanker that was in transit almost collided with the structures of the Miraflores Locks.

UCOC added that the tugs in the Panama Canal ”do not meet the standards required to attend to daily operation.”

The union explained that during the maneuver, the tugboats suffered damage to their machines. However, thanks to the expertise of the tugboat captain, it was possible to brake the ship in time, avoiding an accident.

That is why, as professionals responsible for the maritime industry, we ask the administration of the ACP to conduct an exhaustive investigation into the true causes of this fact, which transcended public opinion through social networks

UCOC stated.

What is more, the union hoghlighted that the following must be clarified in reference to the incident:

  1. Did the tugs arrive on time for their assignment?
  2. Where they moored to the ship correctly and according to the procedures?
  3. The bow tug did not push the vessel when moored and did not deviate it from its course.
  4. The stern tug did not push the vessel when moored and did not increase its speed.

On the other hand, the UCOC denounced the alleged intentions by the administration to use ”these deficient and unreliable equipment in the Expanded Canal”, as such an action entails a risk of possible damage to the canal facilities, and potential injuries.

We want to express once again, as Tug Captains and Deck Officers, our commitment to continue working so that our nation’s greatest asset, the Panama Canal, continues to offer the world a free, safe, reliable and uninterrupted transit

concluded the association.