Chinese container ship damaged after hitting expanded Panama Canal wall

26 July 2016 (Last Updated July 26th, 2016 18:30)

China Shipping Container Lines vessel the Xin Fei Zhou has suffered extensive damage to its hull after hitting a wall of the newly expanded Panama Canal.

China Shipping Container Lines vessel the Xin Fei Zhou has suffered extensive damage to its hull after hitting a wall of the newly expanded Panama Canal.

The ship is now undergoing repairs, with the incident once again increasing concerns about the newly expanded canal's design.

The incident is the third of its kind since the $5.4bn canal expansion opened a month ago.

Workers groups claimed that the newly designed locks are too small for safe operations as the canal can now accomodate ships three times larger than previously.

"The incident is the third of its kind since the $5.4bn canal expansion opened a month ago."

Panama Canal’s new locks are designed for ships to use tugboats to direct them through the canal, while, the previous canal locomotives would maintain the ships’ exact alignment as they passed through.

However, a recent study conducted on behalf of the International Transport Workers' Federation has stated that the new lock chambers were too small to enable tugboats to manoeuvre safely, reported BBC.

Panama Canal authority is now investigating the latest incident.

The expansion project started in September 2007 and was initially planned for completion in 2014.

Last month, the newly expanded canal was first used.

A few days after the opening, Lycaste Peace, the first LPG tanker to pass through the expanded part of the canal, tore a fender during a crash, causing minor damage to the ship's railing.

The canal authority did not comment on the incident.

However, the authority has confirmed that Cosco Shipping Panama, the container ship that made the opening journey through the canal, also damaged its fenders during the voyage, reported the Guardian.