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Stranded ships begin transiting Panama Canal





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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said 23 ships laden with petroleum products, food items, and other goods had arrived and discharged their contents at the Lagos Port Complex.

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said 23 ships laden with petroleum products, food items, and other goods had arrived and discharged their contents at the Lagos Port Complex.

THE Panama Canal Authority said Sunday that two cruise ships carrying more than 1,800 passengers and crew — some infected with COVID-19 — stranded off the Central American country and hoping to reach port in Florida had begun the process of transiting the canal.

The announcement came after the passengers received mixed signals about their fate. While Panamanian officials said they would let the two ships transit the Panama Canal, the cruise company said it had not been given official permission and Fort Lauderdale’s mayor said he didn’t want it to dock near his city as planned, at least without extensive precautions.

Panama’s Health Ministry announced Saturday that it would allow the Zaandam, which has been at sea since leaving Argentina March 7, to transit the canal, though no passengers or crew would be allowed to disembark. The independent Panama Canal Authority also issued a statement saying it was preparing to “facilitate the transit of the Zaandam through the waterway.”

On Sunday evening, the canal authority released a statement saying the transit process of the Zaandam and the Rotterdam – a sister ship – had begun. It did not say how long it would take, though ships normally take eight to 10 hours to transit the canal.

“All the biosecurity and operational measures will be taken for these transits in order to minimize the risks for Panama Canal personnel and their clients, as well as guarantee a safe maneuver,” the statement said.
The Zaandam had been stranded off Panama’s coast and its operator, Holland America Lines, said Friday that four people aboard the ship had died — though the cause was not reported — and at least two had tested positive for COVD-19.

Canada’s foreign affairs minister, Francois-Philippe Champagne, said late Saturday that his Panamanian counterpart had assured him the ship would be allowed through the canal en route to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There were 248 Canadians among the ship’s 1,243 passengers and 586 crew before it reached Panama and offloading some passengers onto the Rotterdam, which the cruise company said would also make the transit.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

Chuka is an experienced certified web developer with an extensive background in computer science and 18+ years in web design &development. His previous experience ranges from redesigning existing website to solving complex technical problems with object-oriented programming. Very experienced with Microsoft SQL Server, PHP and advanced JavaScript. He loves to travel and watch movies.

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