"China’s Control of the Panama Canal Revisited"
...[I]n the event of a serious military conflict with the United States, such
as one over Taiwan, it would be highly possible for Beijing to use
Hutchison Whampoa to effectively interrupt U.S. intervention. As former
Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger puts it, Hutchison Whampoa’s
control of the canal is a national security threat because “The Company
would not be able to survive if they don’t do something the Chinese
government tells them to.”[ii]
Admiral Moore, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, claims
that in case of military conflict in the Pacific, a large number of
logistic ships need uninterrupted access to the canal to support
If the use of the canal were denied, those ships would need to travel
an extra 9,000 miles around South America and would not be able to
sustain combat effectiveness in the Pacific.[iv]
- Yojiro Konno with Nancy Menges.
"The New Panama Canal: A Risky Bet" - New York Times, June 22, 2016, WALT BOGDANICH, JACQUELINE WILLIAMS and ANA GRACIELA MÉNDEZ
Last summer, water began gushing through concrete that was supposed to last 100 years but could not make it to the first ship. The Hill analysts had warned that the consortium’s budget for concrete was 71 percent smaller than that of the next lowest bidder. The budget also allotted roughly 25 percent less for steel to reinforce that concrete. ...
A native Panamanian who graduated from
the United States Merchant Marine Academy, Mr. de la Guardia [chief of the tugboat captains’ union] has spent
20 years running tugboats in the canal. “We think it’s going to be a
real mess,” he said. “I think something awful is going to happen.”
His concern stems from the
canal authority’s decision to abandon [canal-side, electric] locomotives to guide the ships.
Tugboats will now push and pull vessels that are more than three
football fields long and stacked with up to 13,000 containers, nearly
three times as much as the old, smaller ships. Tugboat captains fear that their boats will be overmatched.
In testimony on Thursday before the House Armed Services Committee's subcommittee on oversight and investigations, Naval Surface Forces Commander Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden revealed that the most recent casualty, damage to the USS Montgomery when it transited southward through the Panama Canal, was at least in part due to failure on the part of canal engineers not to follow the Navy's instructions on how to guide it through the narrow passage.
The Oct. 29 mishap was the second time an Independence-class LCS, with its wider trimaran design, had been damaged passing through the canal. The USS Coronado had also required repairs after a canal transit in early 2014.
"When we took the first ship through and there was some damage associated with it, we sent a team down to the Panama Canal to talk about how we needed to take these ships through the canal," Rowden said.
"The US Navy's newest destroyer broke down while transiting the Panama Canal, colliding with the Canal lock walls and forcing the $4 billion dollar ship to resort to a tow from a tugboat. The USS Zumwalt was towed to a former U.S. naval station in Panama where it will undergo emergency repairs. This is just months after a similar incident in September."
Which brings us to our...
Quotation of the Month
"Unfortunately with the most recent transit, that was not executed. We've gone back to them and we're going to get it squared away in the future, but we know how to get the ships through the canal safely and if we we execute the procedures as we outlined them, we won't have any problems with that in the future." - Naval Surface Forces Commander Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden, Military.com, Dec 09, 2016, "New Details Emerge on Littoral Combat Ship Breakdowns" by Hope Hodge Seck
Click to Enlarge
Submarines are always silent and strange.
Labels: Casper Weinberger, China, concrete, Panama Canal, security, Spain, Taiwan, USS Columbus (LCS-4), USS Coronado, USS Montgomery (LCS-8), USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000)