Tugboat captains stike on Panama Canal

After a tugboat captains strike on the expanded locks of the Panama Canal April 12th operations on the Panama Canal have returned to normal as of April 14.

The strike affected the transit of nine Post-panamax vessels through the new locks. Five transits [in the new locks] that were scheduled for Thursday could not be completed because of the strike. 

Following the strike tugboat captains under investigation. This was the first time that captains disobeyed orders from the governing Authority, the Panama Canal Authority. 

“The decision is based on the fact that these tugboat captains refused to fulfil their duty of assisting the transit of vessels through the [new] Post-panamax locks, which affected the regular operation and caused a negative economic impact on the country as it affected the confidence of our clients and the image of the Panama Canal,” the authority said in a statement.

This process [to sanction the tug captains] seeks to address the “seriousness of the facts and will be fulfilled within the framework of the regulations of the Panama Canal”. Due to the severity of what happened, the applicable sanctions may result in the dismissal of those responsible, the ACP said.

Panama’s Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (CCIAP) rejected the actions taken by the tugboat captains saying that “the Panama Canal provides a fundamental service for world trade, and cannot afford any kind of paralysis.”