When Jim & I traveled to Panamá to cover the inauguration of the expanded Canal Locks, we were also able, as registered members of the Press, to attend a Press only briefing and tour the day before the big event.
We were able to visit the Miraflores Centennial Locks & Visitor Center… a place I had visited nearly 20 years ago. It was both familiar and new all at once. We were also able to video the passage of a ‘Panamax’ class container ship as it came through. I had seen this once, so many years before, but it was still impressive to see it up-close and personal.
After our press briefing and Q & A with ACP Officials, we were shuttled to the nearby 25:1 scale training facilities used to train Canal Pilots & Tug-boat captains. It is a scaled down replica of the ‘Culebra Cut’, both Port entrances including lock gates and there is a small flotilla of exact scaled replicas of actual ships & tugs for live training to help the Pilots & Captains test new maneuvering techniques and train for unexpected conditions.
It was quite a day and we left anticipating the coming day, to witness a full-sized ‘Neo-Panamax’ class vessel come through the Cocolí Locks.
–Buddy Tetreault, Director of Art & Technology