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Old 23-10-2006, 01:22   #1
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Voters Approve Panama Canal Expansion

Voters overwhelmingly approved the largest modernization plan in the 92-year history of the Panama Canal on Sunday, backing a multi-million dollar expansion that will allow the world's largest ships to squeeze through the shortcut between the seas.

More on this story at this link: http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/10/22/D8KU3CUG0.html
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Old 23-10-2006, 10:52   #2
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Good news/bad news

Wow! This will be a phenomenal undertaking. Have you read the book, "Path Between the Seas"? What a history which points out many political, economic and engineering challenges to be faced and dealt with before a successful completion.

Because Nicaragua is still planning to construct their own canal there may be an easier economic choice for us small craft owners to cross over. One reliable engineering evaluation originally recommended that the best solution was to make the canal through Nicaragua. They will not have the same problem as Panama with the constantly moving mud that has to be continually removed in Gatun lake. They also will not have as much of an elevation change to lock up/down as Panama.

I wonder just how Panama will fund the project, who will control the construction and just how their politicians will be able to prevent losing money from graft and corruption while still forcing the construction managers to use local labor. One thing almost for certain is that if the Panamanian "politicos" are in charge of the project it will not succeed. Have you read of any answers to these questions?
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Old 23-10-2006, 17:20   #3
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The canal was being widened the last time I went through in 1996. The charts were pretty useless, but fortunately not really necessary as the route is self-evident. Here's a neat sentence (know why?):
"A man, a plan, a canal: Panama."

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Old 23-10-2006, 19:00   #4
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A man a plan

Depending upon one's historical point of view that would be either Ferdinand de Lesseps for his French grandeur or Teddy Rosevelt for his astute vision of just how the US-of-A-could efficiently move materials and military between the two shores without having to pass Cape Horn to port/starboard. Either way, niether man had the original thought, merely the credit in at least some regard.
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Old 23-10-2006, 19:48   #5
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Rick.

No. I am sorry that I have not read the book, "Path Between The Seas."

I just seen this article on the net. And thought I'd share it with everybody. Since it does pertain to some sailors, who have, or plan to use the Canal sooner or later?
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Old 23-10-2006, 19:51   #6
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Talking Aha!

"A man, a plan, a canal: Panama" is a palindrome, a word (such as my title), phrase or sentence that is spelled the same way forward as backward.
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Old 23-10-2006, 20:12   #7
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Didn't see it!

Madam, I'm adam!
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Old 23-10-2006, 20:34   #8
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Curious Report

Disclaimer: The following is not a political statement
Lou Dobbs (CNN) reported the story today. Then added that the Canal authority is run by a Chinese gentleman, that China has been pushing for the expansion (their largest ships don't fit now) to take cargo to the gulf & east coasts vs only using west coast ports and that the GC on the new expansion project will be a Chinese firm.
I'm sure there will be a special lane set up for sailboats with reduced fees as part of the improvements.
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Old 23-10-2006, 22:37   #9
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I'm curious Rick why you think that Panama couldn't manage the project to completion. I don't think you could make a good argument that the canal hasn't been better managed since the Panamanian takeover than before. Rising transit costs aside, the canal as a business now accomodates more traffic than ever and runs at a profit. IIRC there was a National Geographic article on this a couple of years ago. When I came through in July it sure seemed efficient, well maintained and was still being widened and dredged ever deeper. (Canal only, the locks will remain the locks)

Chuteman, although it's possible the chinese haven't thought about cruising sailors yet, I'm sure that if you bring us to their attention they will happily accomodate!
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Old 24-10-2006, 08:36   #10
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Knew It

YX - Jotting a note to Bejing right after this...........

GM - Just could not resist huh? Not sure about Lou but when the trade imbalance grows steadily, at least 6 huge Chinese container cranes are dragged all the way across the ocean to scrape their way under the Golden Gate & Bay bridges @ the lowest tide possible to unload larger ships plus we have to dodge larger & larger container ships while sailing out here watching them loading up empty containers & riding high as they fade over the west horizon.....
The canal report does not seem like misinformation.
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Old 24-10-2006, 09:24   #11
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Hi Yotphix

Please don't misunderstand me. There is a huge difference between managing and running an existing canal and known system of maintanence versus planning, overseeing the engineering of, and construction of a much larger facility.

The main reason for my skepticism (bordering on cynicism) is that for such a project to succeed historically a system must be in place which is very disciplined in terms of authority. That authority must be backed up with a functional judicial system else money "slips" away and efficiency of management decreases radically (without the discipline of a functional authority). Can you describe such a group currently in existence in any of the Panamanian social, judicial, economic, industrial structure? If it does not exist then it must be "outsourced". Certainly the Chineese are capable of performing the function with decreased efficiency (to wit:their own damn dam).
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Old 24-10-2006, 09:31   #12
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improvement?

Quote:
Chuteman, although it's possible the chinese haven't thought about cruising sailors yet, I'm sure that if you bring us to their attention they will happily accomodate!


I don't think you have to take much of a political view of history to see that any involvement by the Chinese government does not 'accommodate' much in the way of private citizen’s interests.

Currently yacht traffic is 'filler', so more capacity should mean more room for 'filler' so I hope this means good news for the cruiser. I am not too optimistic. As for the 'improvements' what is the cost to transit now compared to pre-turn over? I don't call that an improvement.
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Old 24-10-2006, 11:25   #13
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My first transit

My first transit in '81 on a 35 ft sailboat cost $65 and I had the admeasurement for the canal done for free in Coos Bay Or. At that time the USCG had people who would do that and issue a document.

By '87 the cost went up but not inordinately and I was still able to run all the paperwork down around the Cristobal area for free without managing to get mugged.
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Old 24-10-2006, 18:17   #14
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A pat on the back to CaptainJeff.
As for whether or not the Panamanians can pull it off (or if it's the Chinese) that will be made clear in the fullness of time.
FWIW, on one of my trips through, we needed a new part for an engine - sent an engineer ashore at one end with the agent and old part and drawings in hand - he met the ship at the other end with newly-manufactured bit that worked a treat and cost less than what it would cost to ship one from Canada. Always thought they were very efficient in the Canal Authority. Only had problems with one pilot, who happened to be an American. (This is not a reflection on American pilots, in general.)

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Old 25-10-2006, 21:38   #15
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Fair enough Rick, and point taken. Nope, I can't describe such a group.
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