The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) will charter a Post-Panamax vessel for training purposes in the third set of locks before the opening of the expanded Canal. Training pilots and tugboat captains will assist in transits through the new lane, said Esteban Saenz, executive vice president of operations.
"This is one of the best ways to train our pilots and tug captains in the joint effort required to transit through the two new lock complexes of the expanded Canal," said Saenz. He added that since 2011 the Panama Canal has promoted workforce training for the operation of the expanded waterway.
Since 2012, a total of 186 of the approximately 280 Canal pilots have been trained at the Panama Canal’s Center for Simulation, Research and Maritime Development (SIDMAR) using Post-Panamax model ships.
"SIDMAR’s mathematical modelling and simulations have been updated and parts of the expanded Panama Canal such as the locks, navigational channels and Culebra Cut have been added to train our pilots and captains in such maneuvers," added Saenz.
Saenz also said that 77% of the Panama Canal pilots have participated in maneuvers with Post-Panamax ships and more than 2,000 operations have been registered with these types of vessels at the ports located on both entrances of the waterway.
In addition, Canal pilots have participated in theoretical and practical training programs in Berendrecht Locks in the Port of Antwerp, Belgium, which are of similar size and operation.