The repairs on the recent leaks detected in the newly constructed third set of locks of the long-awaited Panama Canal are expected to be completed in January 2016, according to the project contractor Grupo Unidos por el Canal, SA (GUPC).
The announcement was made on November 28th during a joint press conference held with the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), as informed by Prensa Latina.
The leaks in the so-called Cocoli’s locks on the Pacific side were detected in August this year.
The seepage found in the concrete sill between the lower and middle chamber of the Panama Canal’s expanded Pacific Locks was the result of insufficient steel reinforcement in the area which was subjected to stress from extreme condition testing, according to GUPC’s findings.
However, the GUPC and the ACP did not disclose whether the repair work would affect the scheduled opening of the third locks.
The contractor is trying “to minimize the impact on the final handover, planned for April next year,” Reuters quoted the canal authority as saying.
The latest announcement is believed to likely delay the project again.
The USD 5.8 billion project is now 95% complete. Once complete, the expanded Panama Canal will be able to accommodate Post-Panamax vessels, including container ships of up to 13,000 TEUs, more than doubling the existing maximum size of 5,000 TEU.
World Maritime News Staff