Panama Canal Reopens After Flooding

Panama Canal Reopens After Flooding

Friday, December 10 2010 @ 05:01 PM EST
Contributed by: Don Winner
Views: 19
(CNN) — The Panama Canal reopened Thursday after heavy rains and flooding prompted its closing for only the third time in its storied 96-year history. Officials closed the canal around noon Wednesday after heavy rain in the Chagres River area, caused water behind the Gatun Dam — which creates Lake Gatun, a significant part of the canal — to rise. The canal was reopened 17 hours later.
The last time the canal closed was in 1989, after the United States invaded Panama to topple strongman Manuel Noriega. Landslides forced the canal to close for several months from late 1915 to mid-1916, just months after it opened. The 48-mile canal is a key conduit for shipping between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The canal was built from 1904 to 1914 by the United States, which had sole control over the channel across the Panamanian isthmus until 1979. Then, after 20 years of joint U.S.-Panama control, the Panamanian government assumed administration on December 31, 1999.

Editor’s Comment: I got a call from a friend of mine who is a Panama Canal pilot, and he just happened to be the guy who was navigating a ship past the bridge over the Chagres River at Gamboa early Wednesday morning. He told me the water was coming down the river so hard that he was forced to order the ship into engines full ahead, and even though they were being assisted by a tug, he was just barely able to keep the ship from being run aground. There was just one guy behind him in the Gaillard Cut and he had to keep coming because there was no place for him to tie up. Once he got clear at around noon the ACP ordered everyone to stay in place and they shut the Panama Canal down for the next 17 hours. They reopened on Thursday morning and the backlog of ships caused by the short closure is slowly being erased.

Post a Response

One Response to “Panama Canal Reopens After Flooding”

  1. What a great resource!

Post a Response