The newly constructed third set of locks of the long-awaited Panama Canal expansion project is leaking based on the latest photos and videos that emerged in the media.
The leak has been confirmed by the construction contractor Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), which met with the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) on Saturday to assess the problem and talk solutions.
The meeting was attended by Panama Canal Administrator, Jorge Luis Quijano, who said in a tweet that the relevant parties were discussing a plan to repair the leak.
En este momento con mi equipo ACP el equipo técnico de GUPC nos explica el plan de reparaciones de filtraciones. pic.twitter.com/Tib9ZNrhF3
— Jorge Luis Quijano (@jorgelquijano) August 22, 2015
According to GUPC, the photos that emerged in social media over the weekend show the gate walls in the Pacific, stressing that the contractor’s technical team was addressing the issue. The GUPC added that the filling of the locks was aimed at testing the new locks to detect any potential defect and undertaking of necessary measures aimed at adjusting or reinforcing the structure so as to ensure the project’s functionality.
The so-called Cocoli’s locks started receiving water on June 22nd within a testing stage which was expected to take approximately 90 days to complete.
The flooding was carried out by powerful electric and diesel pumps, providing 30,000 gallons of water per minute each, while an added network of 13 diesel pumps pumped 7,000 gallons of water per minute each, filling the lower chamber at a rate of nine inches per hour.
Each lock complex includes three chambers, nine water-saving basins with a filling and emptying side system and rolling gates.
The outcome of the meeting has not been revealed and it is not known at this point whether the leaks would affect the completion of the already delayed Panama Canal expansion project.
The Panama Canal Authority said that it would not accept the project until all necessary repairs are conducted by the contractor.
World Maritime News Staff; Video: Telemetro Radio