Panama Canal Installs Marine Fendering System From Solidur Plastics

Solidur Plastics Co., Delmont, Pa., supplied an Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) marine fender system for the locks at the Panama Canal to protect oceangoing ships from the damaging impacts of bumping into the lockwalls.

Jorge Quijano, chief of the Locks Division, Panama Canal, said, "We needed fendering to protect the ships rather than the lockwalls.

Once a ship enters Panama Canal waters, the captain relinquishes control of his vessel to our pilots.

Therefore, we are responsible for any damage incurred during the transit. . ." Mr. Quijano recalled, "We considered a variety of other fender systems before we met with the engineers at Solidur Plastics. Then, we visited the locks of the St. Lawrence Seaway in both Montreal and Massena, N.Y., to inspect their plastic application. After the Canadian visit, our engineers working with Solidur's engineers designed our new fender system." The fenders installed on the canal's lockwalls are modular "sandwich" designs which combine hard timber with UHMW-PE, an industrial grade plastic that provides an impact and abrasion resistant, stick-less buffer between the vessel and lockwall.

An incoming ship moving through the locks under its own power is assisted by locomotives which help the ship steer into the lock chamber.

With some clearances between lockwall and hull as little as 1-1/2 feet, rubbing against the fenders is unavoidable.

The UHMW-PE block sandwich provides a low-friction surface that allows the vessel to slip by the fenders. Sticking or gouging usually incurred by less effective systems is eliminated.

For free literature detailing UHMW-PE from Solidur Plastics, Circle 97 on Reader Service Card

Other stories from March 1991 issue


Maritime Reporter

First published in 1881 Maritime Reporter is the world's largest audited circulation publication serving the global maritime industry.