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I have posted a coment on a photo of a 26,000 dwt ship going through the Culebra Cut in the Panama canal and she is being assisted by a tug.

I have been through the Culebra cut many times (1970's) and the biggest ship was the Hallanger at 34,000 dwt and I do not remember having the assistance of a tug, but it is 40+ years ago and the memory might be at fault, or have things changed now.

Do any of you guys have any memories of transiting the Panama Canal.

Cheers Frank..
 

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Cannot remember whether we had a tug or not but on the LPG tankers we used to be first through at daylight.

Never transmitted at night.
 

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Now yes Frank, and all the ships in transit through the canal are assisted by tugs, I do not know since when this rule is in force.

Regards

Tomi.
 

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c. The following conditions require that vessels be towed through the entire Canal, and the masters shall report these conditions and request the towing services: (1) Vessels without mechanical motive power; (2) Vessels with disabled machinery or bad steering, and (3) Vessels liable to become unmanageable for any other reason. d. In addition, ACP authorities may require vessels to make use of one or more towboats through Gaillard Cut, on the approaches to the locks, or in any other part of the Canal, when, in their judgment, such action is necessary to ensure reasonable safety to the vessel and/or the Canal and its appurtenances. e. The towing services in all of the above cases shall be chargeable to the vessel.
 

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I made the whole transit through the Panama Canal, ie, from thde Gulf of Panama in the Pacific ocean to the Port of Colon at the Caribbean Sea or Atlantic Ocean, I can assure you that a good deal of ships were navigating with tug assistance, only the small ships like in which I was embarked plus yachts did not use tugs.

You will see these ships in my photos posted during the voyage.

Regards

Tomi.
 

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Just to add, I found the following article written in Spanish which I have translated the better I could:

https://metrolibre.com/economía-y-m...lque-de-los-buques-en-el-canal-de-panama.html

How does the towing of ships in the Panama Canal work?

To carry out the safe passage of a ship through the Panama Canal it is essential to have a team of between 6 and 7 workers in a tugboat, which are responsible for finding the ship at a specific point in Panamanian waters and guiding it to the locks of the interoceanic way.

It is the tugboat captains, the sailors, the machine engineer and the oiler that make up the crew of a tugboat.

Captain Alejandro Taylor, a member of the Union of Captains and Deck Officers (UCOC) explained that the number of workers in a tugboat depends on whether it will go in the bow or stern of the vessel.

"In the case of the tugboat that goes aft of a ship (behind) there are two captains, two sailors, a machine engineer and an oiler.

In the bow (forward), the difference is that before he had three seamen, but now the ACP only allows two.

The role of the third seaman enters when it comes to a high-risk vessel, but as we are guarantors of the safety of the Canal crossings, we insist that three seamen should be on the tug, "explained the captain.

Taylor explained that the first thing they do is report as a tug captain and say the phrase: "New crew on board, please confirm our next assignment." Once confirmed, they go to the indicated tack where they will meet the ship.

He explained that in the case of the Atlantic, if the ship comes from the south, the tugs make their sign on the Atlantic Channel and release it in Gatún Reach.

He added that the meeting point with the ship will depend on the size of the ship.

"Once the pilot (pilot) is reported to be on board the ship, we proceed to the mooring," said Taylor.

The captain pointed out that the first tugboat to be attached to the ship is the Delta, the one that goes aft.

Then come "Bravo" (to one side of the bow), "Charlie" (to the side of stern) and depending on the size they have in 'stand by' to "Echo tot".

The pilot is the one that tells the tugs if they should tie themselves, line up or any other instruction.

"Normally the Alpha makes firm at a speed of 3 knots or less before entering the locks.

And then the pilot is giving the instructions according to the hands of the clock and holds the ship to the lock, "he said.

ACP ensures that the adjustment of seafarers is the correct measure

ML | The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) rejected the version of the Union of Captains and Cover Officials (UCOC), who supported the stoppage of work on Thursday, because the Authority decreased a third seaman in the tugboats. They claim that this is the correct measure to which they have returned.

Captains demand 3 seamen for safety in the crossing

ML | The Tugboat Captain, Alejandro Taylor, remarked that they did not stop the operation of the interoceanic highway, but that it was the Panama Canal Authority, which did not follow the procedures manual. They require that the third marine be maintained within the crew of each tug, for safety.

Regards

Tomi.
 
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