Pilots of the Panama Canal today demanded more transparency from the Waterway Administration Authority and to inform the population of the "risks" they face in the passage of ships along the route, so that there is a "better understanding" of their work, following a recent incident.
"We consider it important for the Panama Canal Authority to make an in-depth understanding of the population, about the functions, the risks, the sacrifice and the obligations implied by transits," the so-called "pilots" said in a statement.
They added that "we are sure that with a better knowledge of this, Panamanians would have a better vision and understanding of the work that each of us do, as professionals who serve the country from the canal strip."
The pilots who drive the giant ships around the world on the Panamanian route referred to the incident that took place last Thursday by captains of tugboats that hindered the transit of the ships, which has led to their separation and investigation, and are exposed to penalties of up to 20 years in prison.
"In light of the events occurred since Thursday, April 12, 2018 and as an interested party in maintaining safety standards for the operation of the waterway, the pilots of the Panama Canal call for sanity, with the purpose of finding a solution to this conflict."
They assured that "all of us who work in the ACP, both in administration and in operations are responsible for the success of the Canal, and that is based on guaranteeing the safety of the Canal facilities, the assets of our clients and that of ourselves; therefore, we must exhaust all efforts so that together we can carry out a safe, efficient and expeditious operation".
In virtue of safeguarding the best interests of the country and international maritime trade, "we believe that the ACP should welcome the willingness of tug captains and initiate a real dialogue, which they have sensibly agreed to since Friday, April 13," they said.
The pilots ask that in this negotiation "the differences be deposited and the responsibilities of the case clarified, but especially that all the due process that warrants all investigation is respected".
"We, the Panama Canal pilots, reiterate, once again, our commitment to the country and global maritime trade, so we will continue with our work safely and continuously, aware of the great responsibility it entails," they said.
An average of 14,000 ships pass through the Panama Canal each year, now of up to 13,000 containers, which move around 6 percent of international trade, leaving the route revenues of more than 2 billion dollars.