On January 27, 2004, in a formal ceremony at the Industrial Shipyard Division, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) inaugurated the first ship - an aluminum launch - that was entirely built by the hands of its employees on-site in Panama. The construction of the Launch in Panama helped to create new skill sets for ACP employees and to save money.
Keeping with the ACP tradition of naming the boat after a fish, the Launch was christened the "Lenguado" or "Dover Sole" by Canal Administrator Alberto Alemán Zubieta; Minister for Canal Affairs, Jerry Salazar; and the Director of the Department of Industrial Services, Manuel Benítez.
"The ACP is extremely proud of this achievement by our Industrial Shipyard Division," said Administrator Alberto Alemán Zubieta. "The success of this Launch is a testament to the ACP's commitment to training our world-class workforce in an environment that fosters productivity and personal advancement."
The "Lenguado" is 53 ft. long and 15 ft. wide and will be used to transport Canal linehandlers to ships navigating the Canal. The Launch holds a maximum of 31 passengers and two crew members, is powered by two Deutz 653 horsepower engines, and is equipped with hydraulic steering, two bronze propellers and air conditioning. This initiative is part of the Canal's Permanent Modernization Program, which includes improvements that have led to greater efficiency and increased capacity.