Canal Authority assures YM 'everything is being done'

A Panama Canal Authority spokeswoman has assured Yachting Monthly that they are ‘concerned’ about the bottleneck of yachts piling up at the Caribbean end of the canal, which we reported on yesterday, and are ‘working
aggressively to reduce the backlog.’

The measures they have introduced to this end include:

* Postponing all routine maintenance work at the locks;
* Assigning additional crews at the locks, including personnel for
tie-up locomotives;
* Incorporating more tugboats and tugboat crews to assist in canal
* Assigning tie-up locomotives at all locks;
* Adding locomotives and cables to deeply laden bulk carriers and
tankers at all locks;
* Increasing the number of slots for ships waiting to transit by
temporarily reducing the number of available reservation slots from 27
to 23 slots per day;
* Changing the schedule of non-commercial boats, which now transit
every other day, limited to a maximum of three-per-day per direction.

The spokeswoman, Teresa Arosemena, said: ‘We are closely monitoring this situation and we are working to ensure that all feasible measures are being taken to return to normal levels of transit waiting time as soon as possible and to provide our schedulers with more flexibility.’

The backlog came about during the second half of February from a surge
in arrivals within the waterway’s peak season (February – May) that
coincided with maintenance work at the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores

Ms Arosemena added: ‘Weather conditions, the mix in vessels arriving and the impact of peak season have contributed to the creation of the backlog and will also
play a role in the successful reduction of the backlog. We have seen a downward trend and expect to see a more pronounced reduction in waiting times for transits in the weeks to come.’