The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has received a report from its contractor and said yesterday that leaks in one of the new locks are from insufficient steel reinforcement in the area that was subjected to stress from extreme condition testing.
A large crack appeared during testing of the new Cocoli Locks on the Pacific side. Creating the third set of locks is the bulk of the $5.25 billion expansion project and includes construction of bigger locks on the Atlantic and Pacific sides to allow for larger container ships, effectively doubling capacity. The expansion is 93 percent complete and was in its testing phase when the leaks appeared. The canal turned 100 years old in 2014.
Grupo Unidos por el Canal, S.A. (GUPC) said it will not only reinforce the sill with the leak, but also the first and second sill in the Cocoli Locks and the first three sills in the Atlantic-facing Agua Clara Locks as a preventative measure.
GUPC also verbally indicated that the completion date for the opening of the new locks remains April 2016, as planned.
See new photos on gCaptain.com.