Digging Towards the Future

Digging Towards the Future

Hydro International Interviews Eng. Jaime Rogríguez

Work is ongoing in Central America to increase the capacity of the Panama Canal to accommodate more and larger vessels transiting from the Atlantic Ocean via the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean. This important construction work involves civil engineering, dredging and of course, hydrographic survey and charting as the Panama Maritime Authority takes care of its own charting, which is now being developed in accordance with the digital standards. Hydro International interviewed Jaime Rodríguez, manager Surveys Branch Engineering Division of Canal de Panamá.

How are the hydrographic responsibilities divided in Panama?
The Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) is responsible for conducting hydrographic surveys in waters surrounding the Republic of Panama. The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) is responsible for hydrographic surveying in the Panama Canal Operating Waters, including: the Atlantic and Pacific entrances to the Canal, Gatun Lake, Miraflores Lake, Alhajuela Lake, all the anchorage areas of the Canal and any other area that the Panama Maritime Authority authorises the Panama Canal to survey.

What role does hydrography play in the management of the Panama Canal?
Hydrography is very important in the Panama Canal. At Surveys Branch we have four units, one of them is the Hydrographic Unit. We work in very close cooperation with the ACP Dredging Division. The Dredging Division has four dredges (two dipper dredges and two cutter suction dredges). We do all before, during and after hydrographic surveys. The Dredging Division also has two drilling and blasting barges. In addition, the Hydrographic Unit does all the surveying for the contract dredging to compare with the soundings produced by the contractor. We also work in very close cooperation with the ACP Marine Traffic Control.

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