A container ship has hit the wall of the Panama Canal’s new locks.
The 8,500 teu China Cosco Xin Fei Zhou collided with the walls of the Agua Clara locks on Thursday afternoon.
Before the expanded Panama Canal opened on June 26, various organisations had raised concerns over whether it was safe to replace mules with tugboats.
Insurers and workers’ unions had argued that just using tugs in the lock chamber, as is now the procedure, means there is the potential for increased contact with the lock walls.
Despite these concerns, the chairman of the Panama Canal Authority’s board of inspectors Miguel Rodriguez, told CM on the day before the accident that the process of taking ships through the canal was going smoothly.
“The new locks are doing very well,” he said on Wednesday afternoon, “since the opening, we have already transited a total of 38 neo-Panamax vessels with no problems or incidents whatsoever.”
At the time of publication, he had not replied to a request for further comment and further information about the cause of the incident has yet to emerge.