PANAMA CITY, Panama, April 24, 2007 – With the introduction of three new “Z-Tech” tugboats, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) introduces the most powerful tugs in its history. The new tugs will replace aging boats in the Canal’s current fleet, featuring cutting-edge technology that should lower lockage times by providing greater maneuverability and 82 percent more towing power than the existing tugs.

The “Z-Tech” tugs, as they are called, will assist vessels in the process of going in and out of the existing locks and are equipped to handle first responder duties in emergency marine fire-fighting situations.

“We are very excited to incorporate these new high-performance tugboats into our fleet,” said ACP Director of Operations Manuel E. Benítez. “The increase in power and maneuverability will particularly be a great asset in reducing the current time used to approach the locks. By utilizing the new “Z-Tech” tugs, we are demonstrating our commitment to continue investing in state-of-the-art technology that provides the reliable, efficient, and safe transit services our customers have come to expect.”

The new “Z-Tech” tugs, Darien, Veraguas I and Bocas del Toro, represent the first three of eight tugs that will replace older boats within the Canal’s current fleet of 24 units. The remaining five tugs are scheduled to arrive between November 2007 and February 2008.

Built using the award-winning “Z-Tech” design from Robert Allan, Ltd. and PSA Marine, these tugs combine both the handling of a tractor-style tug and an Azimuth Stern Drive tug. Each “Z-Tech” tug measures 27.4 meters in length overall and 11.65 meters in beam, with a bollard pull of 61 tons. Additionally, the engines of the new tugboats have the capacity to accelerate from standstill to full ahead in less than 20 seconds, without heavy smoking.

About the Panama Canal Authority (ACP)
ACP is the autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the ACP is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors. For more information, please refer to the ACP’s Web site: