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I’ve been holding on to these photos until my article came out online, which happened yesterday.  You can read it here. For sixth boro watchers or astute followers of this blog, what do you notice about the vessel–Maria Energy–centered as it enters the chamber at Cocoli?  Answer follows.

 

 

What Cerro Ancon is doing above, and Cerro Grande below would be done by locomotives, aka “mules” here and here in the 1914 parts of the Canal, still functioning of course.  Originally these locomotives were made–where else?–in Schenectady.  Here’s a then-and-now look at Canal locomotives.  The current mules come from Japan.  Here’s more.

 

The switch to tugs only involves, as you might guess, some familiarization, which is the topic of my next article, not yet out online.

The photos above and below show more differences between the 1914 locks and the ones that opened in 2016, referred to as the “third set.”  The new gates roll and the water saving basins do just that . . .  saving 60% of the water for each lockage.

In the distance beyond Maria Energy, you can see ships in the Miraflores locks.

 

All photos by Will Van Dorp.  And the connection with the sixth boro?  Maria Energy is part of the TEN fleet . . . which includes the handymax tanker Afrodite.

 

 

File this under “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  See the two skiffs at the Atlantic level end of the Gatun locks?  And the locomotives along the top of the nearer side of the center wall ?

And here are another set at the Gatun Lake level end of the locks, and again . . . skiffs, arrow, and wind sock.

As to the arrow, here’s the key, from Eric Bauhaus’ fine guide.  Yes, they still function on the 1914 locks.  And see the skiff in the water there?

And right here, earlier this month, the skiff in the water.

As it turns out, the rowboat is the most reliable way to get the messenger line out to the ship so that the wires connecting locomotive and ship can get across reliably.

Here at the Pacific level of the Miraflores lock, a skiff at the ready.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

With all the dredging in the Canal, you’d expect spoils hopper barges, and

sure enough, we met several.  Cazalla is a 2012 product of SIMA Peru, Chimbote shipyard.

Barge 852 pushed by Gorgona I,

which I believe is an older boat.  But I’ve been unable to find any information on her age or provenance.

Culebra appears to be the same design as Gorgona 1.  Here she works a spud barge over

near the Gatun Dam, which regulates Chagres River flow to create the Lake. Nor have I found any info on the smaller push tug there, Quail.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

The sequence now has been US-built pre-2000, Canadian right after 2000, then Chinese with Wärtsiläs, then Chinese with GEs.  Also, bollard pull had gone from 32 to 54 to 61.

The next order of tugs went to Armon Astillero (shipyard) in Spain, the shipyard that launched all the tugs in this post.  Cerro Jefe, like the others in this series is 94.7′ x 44.3′, and uses the GE 8L 250 to generate 6250 hp transmitted via Schottel SRP 2020 FPs for 82 tons of bollard pull.  Here Cerro Jefe heads into Cristobal.

Off the stern of Maran Gas Pericles, an LNG tanker transporting product out of the US,

is Cerro Grande, hanging “cut-style” and serving as an external rudder off the stern of the ship, and

beyond her, that’s Cerro Punta.  The new rules require that LNG tankers are accompanied by two tugs during the entire transit.

 

 

 

In Gamboa, we encountered Cerro Canajagua as she

fell in behind Valparaiso Express, a NeoPanamax container vessel.  These two are escorted through the entire transit.

And finally, in Miraflores Lake, it’s Cerro Pando awaiting orders.  By the way, “cerro” means “hill,” and this class of tugs is named for geographical high points in Panama.  For greater detail on the Spanish tugs, click here.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who alone is responsible for any errors in fact.

I’m still looking for photos of helm seats, captain’s chairs.  I’d like to do a post on them.  I’m looking for the full range:   luxurious to decrepit or basic or high-tech.  Email me a photo of the chair and identify the vessel. You don’t need to be sitting in it.  I’ve got a good number of photos so far, but I’d like to see greater variety.  Thanks to all of you who’ve already shared photos.

 

Rio Indio could have been grouped with yesterday’s post because it’s a Z-Tech 6000:  ASD with 4826 hp Wärtsilä engines with azimuthing 7.8′ propellers in Kort nozzles, generating 61 tons of bollard pull.  I include it here for contrast with the rest of the boats in this post.

Calovebora came out the next year (2010) with an upgrade:  it’s an ASD (azimuth stern drive)  Z-Tech 6500, larger propellers and slightly beamier than Rio Indio, with a 12V228 GE power plant generating 5845 hp and 65 tons bollard pull by means of Schottel SPR 1515 FP units.  The GE power plants were produced in the big small city of Grove City, PA . . .  Pennsylvania.

Farfan is basically a twin of Calovebora, as are all the other boats in this post.  This photo was taken at the dredging center in Gamboa.

Belén also is a 6500.  Most of this series is named for Panamian rivers: Belén was discovered by Columbus, who also then discovered that the existing population were not hospitable to outsiders who gave signs of settling.

Dolega as well is fleet mate of the other 6500 boats.  Here she’s made up to a mooring in Gamboa.

Morning Claire was US-bound when we met her in Gatun Lake on March 5;  yesterday she arrived and departed the sixth born.  Her “slow” arrival is explained by the fact that she stopped at a half dozen ports on her way here, and as of tomorrow, she’ll be in Boston.

Providing a “cut-style” assist to Morning Claire through the Canal is Sajalices, another Z-Tech 6500.

And our last 6500 for this post is Parita 1, product of 2011, whom we met at Atlantic Ocean level the morning we were headed for Gatun locks.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who alone is responsible for any errors in info here.

And remember, I’m still looking for photos of helm seats, captain’s chairs.  I’d like to do a post on them.  I’m looking for the full range:   luxurious to decrepit or basic or high-tech.  Email me a photo of the chair and identify the vessel. You don’t need to be sitting in it.  I’ve got photos of three seats so far, but I’d like a half dozen before doing a post.

After the US and Canadian newbuild orders, ACP began an order of Z-tech 6000s from China, Cheoy Lee and Hin Lee Shipyards.  The first three to arrive in Panama were Veraguas 1, Bocas del Toro, and Darién. Compared with the Canadian boats, these were shorter, wider, and more powerful.  Compared with other Z-Tech 6000s, they had low wheelhouse,  for work around ships’ flares, and two independent forward winches.  They traveled from China to Panama on their own bottoms, with a fuel stop in Honolulu.

At 89.8′ x 38.2, Veraguas I is rated at 61 tons bollard pull, generated by two Wärtsilä 9L20 engines (4826 hp total) propelling stern z-drives, i.e., ASD (azimuth stern drive).

Here she assists Grand Mercury bound for Pedro Miguel locks right after it transits the Culebra Cut.

Virtually identical to Veraguas I are the next two tugs, also Cheoy Lee and Hin Lee built;  below Panama XIV –escorted herself by three pelicans–maneuvers in Miraflores Lake.  All three tugs date from 2007 through 2008.

And here, Ocean Beauty begins a transit for the Atlantic.  Notice here centering in the lock is provided by tugboat Chiriqui III as well as the locomotives.  The new locks–that’s Cocolí atop the distant hill–utilize tugboats only, no locomotives.

 

Also, in the distance, the two white vehicles are on the road that borders the new “third set” of locks.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who is still looking for photos of helm seats, captain’s chairs.  I’d like to do a post on them.  I’m looking for the full range:   luxurious to decrepit or basic.  Email me a photo of the chair and identify the vessel. You don’t need to be sitting in it.  I’ve got photos of three seats so far, but I’d like a half dozen before doing a post.

Before 2000, the Canal was operated by the Panama Canal Commission; beginning on January 1, 2000 (Y2K), the Commission was replaced by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).  It appears the first tugs purchased by the ACP were from Canada, specifically from Irving Shipbuilding.  One was Colón.  It arrived in Panama in late 2001.  

We encountered this tug near the Atlantic Bridge project, which will span both the 1914 locks and the latest set, Aqua Clara on the north end.

Compared with the US-built ones in yesterday’s post, the Canadians are about 5′ longer and 2′ wider. Colón is rated at 54 tons bollard pull generated by two Deutz SBV-8M-628s produced 4400 hp transmitted by Schottel SRP 1212s with Kort nozzles.

Coclé, shown here in Miraflores Lake, was the other tug in that contract.

Herrera, shown here assisting a bunker from the Miraflores lock to the Pedro Miguel, fits the same dimensions and arrival time in the Canal, although I’ve not sure how to explain how the Irving order went from two to more.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who offers more tomorrow.

 

Recent tugboat building contracts at the Canal have gone to Chinese and Spanish shipyards.

What I did was look at all the (ACP or Panama Canal Authority) tugboat photos I took–and only those–and classify them by age and provenance.  The photos below were the US built tugs I saw, all three built before 2000.

Guia, below, is the oldest tug I saw.  She was built by Houma Fabricators in 1987.  Full specs are here, but she has 31 tons bollard pull, powered by 2 EMD 645-E6 for a rated 3000 hp and Voith-Schneider cyclical propulsion.

Unidad, from Houma Fabricators,  is a repeat of  Guia.  At least five others were built and are active.  The line in the photo is between the tanker and a mooring.

 

Cacique came from Halter-Moss Point, 1997 for the Panama Canal Commission.  Full specs are here.  She has a bollard pull of 32 tons from the same power plant as Guia.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

Our pilot identified Titan, located in Gamboa,  as “Herman the German.”  Any idea why?

She’s a floating crane, docked along the Canal but still in service.  She was one of four built in Germany for the Kriegsmarine in 1941.  From 1946 until 1994, she worked in Long Beach as YD-171.  And in 1997 she was moved to the Panama Canal.  According to this technical site (with good photos) she has lifting capacity of 350 tons.

Near the Balboa train station  I saw Bucyrus steam railway crane, No. 64, one of the originals from the 100+ year ago construction.

I took this photo from a bus while passing land side of the Balboa container port.

 

At several of the locks, Ohio cranes stand at the ready.  Maintenance on gates and valves is performed while traffic is passing; hence the crane on the lock.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Tugster robots have done most of the work around here the past week and a half as I’ve transited a continent, in the skinniest possible location, starting from old Fort Sherman . . . past the Toro Point Light

hightailing past some toothy denizens

and fuel boats and

avoiding treacherous reefs of Limon Bay

to rise up across the continental divide

past the signs and

cut through that divide and under the 100 years’ bridge

and down to Pacific level.  This shot shows the entrance to the Miraflores locks to the right and the the new Cocoli locks to the left.

Turning Pacificward, that’s the islands of (l to r) Tabogilla and Taboga, where Gauguin recuperated.

We anchored in a bay just off the Flamenco Island signal station.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who has hundreds more covering the transit and gallivants at either end.  By the way, the first ship I saw at Gatun was NYK Daedalus, a sixth boro regular.

 

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