Shipping in Panama Canal Unaffected by Lock Wall Collapse, Repairs Underway

Shipping traffic at the Panama Canal has not been affected by the collapse of a section of South East wall of the Miraflores locks over the weekend, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) said, adding that transit and lock operations are being normally carried out.

The affected wall is not part of the main structure of the locks, and was built as a closure structure to hold the ground against the original slope of the banks, according to ACP.

Repair work is underway and the canal operations are not affected by the said activities, the authority added.

ACPOver the weekend, activities were taken to reinforce the construction of the ridge so as to stabilize the area where the collapse occurred.

As disclosed, geotechnical experts and engineers carried out studies with specialized three-dimensional sonar equipment, which have confirmed that the structure is safe, solid and stable. Evaluations continue, and appropriate measures to ensure the safety of operations have been undertaken, ACP assured.

It is estimated that the first phase of the work will be completed in four or five weeks.

The incident comes in less than a month ahead of the long-awaited inauguration of the expanded Panama Canal scheduled for Sunday, June 26, 2016.

The long-awaited expansion project of the canal has reached 98 percent completion, based on the latest update from the canal authority, and is estimated to have cost over USD 6 billion.

The new locks will allow for the passage of between 10 and 12 Neopanamax vessels in approximately 40 daily transits through the Panama Canal.

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