ACP Pending GUPC Report on Cocoli Lock Leak

Panama Canal Authority (ACP) is now awaiting a formal report on the leakage from the newly constructed third set of locks of the long-awaited Panama Canal expansion project from the construction contractor Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), following detailed inspections.

“The report will be inclusive of the root cause analysis conducted, as well as the recommended repair methodology. Upon evaluating the report’s findings, the ACP will assess and communicate if the project’s completion timeline will be altered in any way,” ACP said in an update.

The canal authority stressed that GUPC has the obligation to ensure the long-term performance on all aspects of the construction of the locks and to correct this deficiency.

“Moreover, GUPC’s contract with the ACP dictates that the group is responsible for modifications and corrections that may be required,” the authority further added.

In addition, ACP has designated two independent external structural engineers to conduct an objective evaluation of the reasons for this localized issue and assess GUPC’s solution.

The leak was detected during the testing stage of the new locks that began with the flooding of the locks in June this year.

The water seepage was detected in a specific area of the new Pacific Locks in a section that separates the middle chamber and lower chamber, “as they were being stress tested through exposure to level differentials much higher than those required for normal operations, but that may occur during dry-chamber maintenance works in the future,” according to ACP.

However, the ACP said that it was encouraged by the overall progress of the program, which has now reached 93 percent completion.

“Parallel work presses ahead with testing in other areas; the removal of the strip of land – known as a ‘plug’- separating the new Cocolí Locks from the Pacific Ocean, and the culmination of the Pacific Access Channel work. Likewise last week the removal of the dike or plug that separates the Atlantic ocean waters from the new Atlantic Lock was initiated and progresses at a good pace,”ACP added.