The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has set new safety records at the Panama Canal as it pertains to maritime accidents. The total number of maritime accidents at the Panama Canal has been decreasing since the Panama Canal Authority took control of the waterway in 1999.
In 2006 and 2007, 10 maritime accidents were reported out of a total of 14,194 and 14,721 transits respectively. This compares with 12 maritime accident in fiscal years 2005 out of 14,011 transits.
This is all the more significant when considering the challenge of transiting an ever- increasing number of oceangoing vessels, which totaled 13,234 in fiscal year 2007, out of which 6,233 were Panamax.
"These records demonstrate to the world that the ACP means business. Reducing accidents and improving safety is absolutely paramount to our customers and to us. We are clearly seeing dividends from our total focus on continued capital improvements, development of a top-notch work force and management team, and investment in new equipment and technology."
Added to the challenge of coping with the increase in the number of ships and their larger size, were installation maintenance programs carried out without affecting the normal operations of the Canal.
During this fiscal year, there were five lane outages to replace lock tow tracks, to include culvert, gate, and chamber maintenance in order to continue to provide a reliable, safe, and efficient service.
From the time the ACP assumed control of the Canal, it has steadily reduced the number of maritime accidents, from 29 in fiscal year 2000, to only 10 in 2006 and 2007.