Widened Panama Canal to Be Open for Business in 2016 Following Financing

September 16, 2014 Posted by admin

A $400 million loan will help the Panama Canal be open for business by 2016. Previously delayed due to strikes, delays and cost overrun disputes going over an estimated $16 billion, the Canal will finally be completed with just $5.3 billion.

According to Panama Canal Authority Head Administrator Jorge Quijano, the consortium widening the canal will help cash flow and allow the contractors to get paid and finally get the Canal finished as soon as possible.

The project was to be completed this year for the Panama Canal’s 100 year anniversary, but significant delays due to the lack of funding had the Canal’s completion re-scheduled for 2015 and opened for early 2016.

The new Canal upgrades will allow larger ships that carry up to 15,000 containers pass through the Canal. The Panama Canal could only previously accommodate ships carrying 5,000 containers.

Panama earns largely from the Canal, accounting for roughly 10% of government revenues, which makes up a sixth of the country’s economy bringing $1 billion yearly.

Panama’s traffic is only offset by the larger Suez Canal in Egypt, which had also seen upgrades with the construction of a $4 billion “new  Suez Canal, which runs parallel to the original.



Panama Canal Turns 100 Years Old

August 19, 2014 Posted by Rachel

On Friday, the Panama Canal had turned 100 years old. The canal, crucial to world trade by improving transport situations and precise procedures, is surrounded with success, despite its history of oppression and failure.

One of the world’s best engineering marvels, the Panama canal faced many engineering setbacks because of diseases and welfare concerns during the 19th century. The project was abandoned, only to be picked up by the United States President Teddy Roosevelt during 1902. Panama was part of Colombia, and the US began negotiations with the Colombian government. Conflict began between the two countries due to payment disputes, leaving Panama independent through an anti-Colombian revolution supported by the United States.

In total, the canal began its service on August 15, 1914, costing 5,600 worker’s lives for the harsh living conditions and rumoured inhumane treatment. The bridge was built with $10 million and $250,000 annual annuity to Panama from the US government.

The canal helped reduce the length of travelling for water transports by cutting the time and danger in crossing oceans between Europe, America and Asia. After half a century of dispute, the US surrendered management of the canal to Panamanian authorities in 1999.

Today, the canal is being expanded with a $5.25 billion project from 2007 to support modern vessels with larger cargo. The project had become controversial with the Panamanian Canal Authority reportedly withholding payment for contractors.


Former Panama Dictator Sues US Game Developer For Violations

July 16, 2014 Posted by Rachel

Former Panamanian Dictator Manuel Noriega, arrested in 1990 and had become dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1989, had accused Activision for its Call of Duty franchise for unfair business practices and violation of common-law publicity rights in using his name in the game. He filed the lawsuit on Tuesday.

Activision, a famous US-based game developer, had developed the ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 2’, released in November 2013 with much fanfare and success, held the largest revenue of games of all time. The games’ likeness of using his name in-game had prompted Noriega to file the lawsuit.

The lawsuit reads as follows:

“In an effort to increase the popularity and revenue generated by BLACK OPS II, defendants used, without authorization or consent, the image and likeness of plaintiff in BLACK OPS II. Defendants’ use of plaintiff’s image and likeness caused damage to plaintiff. Plaintiff was portrayed as an antagonist and portrayed as the culprit of numerous fictional heinous crimes, creating the false impression that defendants are authorized to use plaintiff’s image and likeness. This caused plaintiffs to receive profits they would not have otherwise received.”

Activision has yet to comment on the matter.

Noriega had been convicted in 1992 in the United States for drug dealing, racketeering and money laundering.


Missing Panama Tourists Linked to Rucksack Found by Authorities

June 17, 2014 Posted by Rachel

Young Holland Tourists Lisanna Froon and Kris Hemmers, respectively 22 and 21 years old were missing. Authorities have found a rucksack that where they found mobile phones, two pairs of glasses and underwear. The two Holland backpackers have set out on a hike on April 1 at Boquete, Chiriqui province. They were reported missing by a hiking guide on April 2.

The rucksack was found in a river in the northeast, near the Costa Rica border. A Dutch rescue team had scanned the highlands of Boquete, which was 260 miles away from Panama City. Sniffer dogs are checking footpaths and three helicopters have searched for the missing young women.

Panama police are also conducting their own investigation regarding possible kidnapping or any other foul play.

They also estimate the indigenous residents in Boquete found the rucksack just 8 hours after the girls were spotted missing.

The two girls have reportedly travelled the “Pianist” path, which is the area around Bocas del Toro, which was near the river the rucksack was found. The search area has limited aerial visibility because of the dense forests in the area.

Search Team Researcher Jerome Van Passel had said that they are still holding out hoping that the two girls are still alive.


Royal Navy Vessel Passess Through Panama at Nighttime

May 18, 2014 Posted by Rachel

The ice patrol HMS Protector had travelled the Panama Canal, which is under renovation, at a speed of 7 knots through the canal and took 7 hours and 38 minutes to pass from the Pacific to the Atlantic through the canal.

According to Submarine Lieutenant David Campbell, it was amazing to go through the Panama Canal and see a fantastic and amazing piece of engineering while cutting through the canal itself. He said it was a tiring night’s work but he also finds it worthy of a bucket-list item check. The submarine passed through the 48 mile passage in the dark.

The HMS Protector came from Antarctica for its double deployment to underpin the UK’s commitment to the Antarctic Treaty, which is to maintain and lend a hand to icebreaking. The HMS Protector had also provided logistic support to sites in the Peninsula, South Sandwich Islands and South Georgia. It is currently in Charleston, South Carolina for technical maintenance.

It is then set to proceed with its Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief Duties in case of any hurricane or other events and survey tasking in the Caribbean. It will then return to Antarctica in September before it returns home to Devonport on 2015.


Panama Canal Expected to Coup Massive Profits, But Receives Criticism

April 14, 2014 Posted by Rachel

The 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal urged many investors and the Panamanian government to renovate it to accommodate larger ships. With billions of dollars in manpower, equipment and logistics to finally allow modern ships to pass through, Panama is expected to gain massive profits. However, Panama locals believe that the profits may not trickle down as best as expected, and it may never even reach or help the poorest citizens of the country.

Builders and contractors from Spain, Belgium, Italy and Panama itself will expand the Canal’s capacity by installing additional locks and will allow 12,000-container-capable ships to pass through the 49.7 MI waterway that will connect it from the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean.

Despite the advantages it brings, the renovation of the Panamanian canal faces many controversies, particularly that of Sacyr. The contractor complained about the Panamanian Canal Authority not delivering for cost overruns. The dispute had threatened to extend the canal’s renovation deadline past 2015.

According to a US Army Corps of Engineers report, the Panama Canal’s development can drive away economic trade from Arizona. Arizona has a stake in Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, where containers travel by truck or railroad in the country to other areas.

Locals who are worried the Panama government’s profits will not do any good except for a few people said that the investments of the country should be in education and the development of the country’s youth.


Ricardo Martinelli Asks Venezuela to Pay Panama $1 Billion in Debt

March 11, 2014 Posted by Rachel

Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli asks Venezuela to pay back $1 Billion in debt to Panamanian exporters and not to use its decision to break ties with Panama as an excuse to escape from debt. According to President Martinelli, Venezuela appears to be bankrupt when it is actually a very rich country.


Venezuelan Nicolas Maduro said that the $1 billion Venezuelan debt to Panama was a fabrication and had announced that it was breaking diplomatic relations with Panama. Maduro also accused Panama of conspiring with the United States to interfere in Venezuelan affairs through the use of the $1 billion debt.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said that Venezuela suspended future debt negotiations.

In a speech expressing strong dismay at Venezuela’s response, Panamanian Foreign Minister Alvarez De Soto said that they want to “reiterate and exress” the astonishment caused to the government of Panama by the Venezuelan government’s decision. He added that the accusations of Maduro were not based on reality.

According to Jaua, the government plans to advance a criminal charge against Panama President Martinelli. Jaua claims they have proof that Venezuela had already paid Panamanian exporters, but the goods they ordered did not arrive.


I Don’t Think Claims Management Companies Are Pests

February 17, 2014 Posted by Rachel

The UK’s compensation culture and taxpayer-backed legal system allows every national to have equal access to justice, which makes a no win no fee solicitor available to anybody who needs to make an injury claim. However, the increasing number of no win no fee solicitor agencies, claims management companies and others make them pests, especially those who advertise over the internet, chat, text messaging and even calls.

But I don’t view them as pests; not after what one did for my sister.

A speeding motorcycle hit my sister, she was a victim, but the motorcycle driver died because of severe concussions. The light vehicle hit her leg. Doctors said her leg joints were fragmented.

I approached the family of the motorcycle driver, who then refused to provide compensation simply because their son died already. However, I said it is only fair they help me save my sister. Still, they wouldn’t budge. So I went for a claims expert for help.

The claims expert understood the situation and he said the burden of responsibility lies with the next of kin, meaning, the victim’s family. Their insurance company of their son can provide them monetary compensation upon their death. However, they still have a responsibility to my sister. The claims expert stressed to claim for loss of consortium or impairment, given that her leg only had a 10% possibility of recovery.

The claims expert pestered the family for months until they finally gave in. I find the 25% I paid him for compensation as even small given the consistent pestering I also did with him for progress. But he handled the situation effectively, as their advertisement text message had promised me.

Sacyr Denies Stopping Panama Canal Work

February 6, 2014 Posted by Rachel

Spanish contractor Sacyr denies halting work at Panama Canal despite the call of Panama President Ricardo Martinelli for help regarding Sacyr’s threat of halting construction because of the government’s massive cost overruns. Sacyr President Manuel Manrique said that they had set no date to stop the work in the canal.

The official figures of the dispute regarding the cost overruns involve the Panama Canal Authority and other contractors for not paying $1.6 billion in extra costs for the construction of Panama Canal.

The new Panama Canal project, backed by the United States and other countries, will enable the shipping route to manage larger vessels, which would reduce trade costs for many overseas companies.

Sacyr said if the cost overruns were not addressed, 10,000 jobs were at risk. However, the Panama Canal Authority said that it will not “yield to blackmail”, which is their view of Sacyr’s statement.

However, Manrique admitted that work may eventually stop if funding ceases. It has not yet given a final decision regarding the matter.  According to Canal Administrator Jorge Quintano, Sacyr is being “inflexible” with its negotiations. Sacyr stressed in a statement that “without an immediate solution, we face years of disputes in national and international tribunals.”


Panama Calls on Spain for Help With Canal Issue

January 7, 2014 Posted by Rachel

Panama President Ricardo Martinelli had asked Spain for help against a Spanish contractor who had threatened to halt construction until it gets paid for massive cost overruns.

The Spanish builder Sacyr, which is the leader of Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), which includes major building companies in Europe, claimed that the Panama Canal Authority, who has authority over the waterway, has a total of $1.6 billion in cost overruns. It had given the Panama Canal Authority until January 20 to comply with their issue.

The project, which is now constructing a third set of locks that could handle bigger ships, is set on a halt from 2009.

President Martinelli had met with Spain’s Public Works Minister Ana Pastor in Panama City to discuss the dispute between the two countries. Pastor said that she aims for helping the two individual companies involved to reach agreement.

The Panama Canal project was supported by many western and South American countries because it could cut down costs. The canal, originally built in 1914, handles 5% of the world trade with the number of ships that take port in its facilities. The new locks will help the canal accommodate larger ships coming from modern ports.