Panama Canal Tugs go Z-Tech

Tuesday, April 24, 2007
With the introduction of three new Z-Tech tugboats, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) introduces the most powerful tugs in its history. The new tugs will replace aging boats in the Canal’s current fleet, featuring cutting-edge technology that should lower lockage times by providing greater maneuverability and 82 percent more towing power than the existing tugs. The Z-Tech tugs will assist vessels in the process of going in and out of the existing locks and are equipped to handle first responder duties in emergency marine fire-fighting situations.

The new Z-Tech tugs, Darien, Veraguas I and Bocas del Toro, represent the first three of eight tugs that will replace older boats within the Canal’s current fleet of 24 units. The remaining five tugs are scheduled to arrive between November 2007 and February 2008. Built using the Z-Tech design from Robert Allan, Ltd. and PSA Marine, these tugs combine both the handling of a tractor-style tug and an Azimuth Stern Drive tug. Each Z-Tech tug measures 89.8 ft. in length overall and 38.22 ft. in beam, with a bollard pull of 61 tons. Additionally, the engines of the new tugboats have the capacity to accelerate from standstill to full ahead in less than 20 seconds, without heavy smoking.

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