|photo by Juliette Passer|
“These new tugboats will allow the Panama Canal to continue offering a world-class service,” Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quiijano said. “They will help us prepare to face the challenge of operating the new set of locks with the same efficiency.”
Quijano explained that the update to the Panama Canal tugboat fleet began in 2001, when the waterway had 20 tugs. Currently, the Panama Canal has 39 and by the end of next year and after retiring those tugs reaching the end of their lifespan, the Panama Canal will have a fleet of 44 tugboats to face the operational demands of the current and expanded Canal.
The additional capacity will allow assisting Post-Panamax vessels that will be transiting the expanded Canal, which will not require the use of locomotives used in the existing locks.