An Explosion In The Engine Room Caused Atlantic Hero Panama Canal Accident
Wednesday, May 19 2010 @ 08:47 AM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
About The Explosion: Ships operate around the clock, 24/7 and "things break." On every ship there are literally tons of equipment, all kinds of generators, pumps, engines, you name it. I don't know exactly what exploded or why, but it was catastrophic enough to take the main engines off line. In addition, many times ships such as these have safety features built in, so that if there is some kind of a fire or explosion in an ancillary piece of equipment, the engines are automatically dropped off line in order to prevent any further damage. If this explosion had occurred just an hour later when the ship was in open water, then the crew would have simply repaired the damage, bring everything back on line, and they go about their merry way. However, in tight and confined spaces, with the ship maneuvering and even making a turn at the time, there was nothing they could do to avoid the collision with the pilings under the Bridge of the Americas. In the annotated image below you can appreciate the slight turn to the left that ships have to maneuver as they pass through this area, and you can see that if you lose engine power at exactly that point, the ship would continue to plow ahead straight, right into the pilings for the Bridge of the Americas. That's exactly what happened.
The Ship Was Just Freed: I was just informed that the Panama Canal Authority was able to free the ship, get it floating again, and now it will be taken out to the Pacific Anchorage, just last the entrance to the Panama Canal. Later today or tomorrow the ACP will hold an official and formal investigation to determine the causes of the incident. Thus far everything indicates this was nothing more than a routine failure of a piece of equipment that just happened to occur at a very bad time. Simply unfortunate, nothing more.
Copyright 2010 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.