July 27, 2016 / 4:10 AM / a year ago

Bigger Panama Canal logs one incident in first month: Administrator

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has only recorded one incident since the inauguration of its third set of locks, and it was weather-related, its head said on Tuesday.

A Panama flagged crane ship named Oceanus navigates through Cocoli locks during a test of the new set of locks of the Panama Canal expansion project on the Pacific side in Cocoli, on the outskirts of Panama City, Panama, June 20, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso/File Photo

The $5.4 billion canal extension, which allows much larger ships to traverse the canal, opened on June 26.

The ACP’s administrator, Jorge Quijano, told journalists that the only problem in the last month involved a China Shipping Container Lines ship, the Xin Fei Zhou, and it was due to intense rainfall and wind.

Reuters reported on Monday that the Xin Fei Zhou hit the wall of the canal, and that in the last month, there have been incidents involving two other ships.

Quijano minimized the importance of the other incidents, saying “scratches” sometimes occur and explaining that the ACP has a $5 million annual budget to address damages.

The events could stir doubts about the canal’s design since some experts say larger ships have too little maneuvering space, which the ACP denies.

Reporting by Elida Moreno; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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