A Chinese container ship hit a wall of the new lane of the Panama Canal, a Canal Authority official and a local ship agent said on Monday, the third such incident since the expanded waterway opened one month ago amid design concerns.
Thomson Reuters ship tracking data showed the Xin Fei Zhou, owned by China Shipping Container Lines, was anchored outside the canal after a photograph published by the maritime online news site gCaptain.com showed the vessel with a sizeable gash in its hull. The ship agent said it was undergoing repairs.
The Panama Canal Authority did not respond to a request for comment about the Lycaste Peace.
The Authority has confirmed that the Cosco Shipping Panama, the container ship that made the inaugural journey through the canal, also made contact with its fenders, which a spokesman for the Authority said was normal.
A representative for MC-Seamax Management Limited, the manager of the Cosco Shipping Panama, said it suffered no damage.
While contact with fenders may occur in transit, the three events together are likely to renew concerns about the safety of moving expensive vessels through the expanded canal, which experts say has less space for manoeuvers than the original locks.
The International Transport Workers’ Federation commissioned a study of the expansion in response to safety concerns of its members. Among other issues identified in April, the study found the dimensions of the new locks were too small for safe operations and that the design left little room for error.
The Panama Canal Authority dismissed the study’s findings.