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Panama pilots in talks with canal over safety issues

The Panama Canal Pilots Union, which is in negotiations for a new five-year contract, said it was encouraged by statements made by Panama Canal Authority CEO Jorge Quijano at the 15th annual TPM Conference here Tuesday.

The union, which is affiliated with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, has expressed concern about two safety issues related to the massive canal expansion. It is worried about the process of guiding and securing post-Panamax vessels that will use the new locks and about the navigation rules, especially those relating to the canal’s narrowest passage, the Culebra Cut, also called the Gaillard Cut.

In talking about the negotiations, Quijano told TPM, “We’re always trying to get more capacity but we don’t want to sacrifice safety.”

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