Photo: Panama Canal Authority
Panama Canal towboat Captains are part of the first-ever work stoppage in the canal’s history, citing safety concerns.
When the new canal locks were designed and built, the Panama Canal Authority proceeded with little to no input from the vocal towboat Captains, who made known then the potential safety issues with the proposed locks.
The Canal Authority proceeded with its plans and the new locks now operate, creating life-threatening conditions for those working in and around the locks.
One tugboat deckhand has already been killed.
When the Canal Authority recently removed a Captain from each towboat, the Captains could no longer work. Given operational demands of actively manning tug controls for multiple hours with no rest, the Captains were not able to safely continue working under current conditions.
In this interview, Panama Canal towboat Captains Ivan DeLaguardia and Captain Manuel Ceballos share some of what their group has been facing.
Have a listen to the podcast below:
Klaus Luhta is a licensed USCG deep sea Master, an attorney, and advocate for seafarers around the globe. Views expressed are his own.
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