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Panama celebrates 20 years of the Canal transfer with flag raising

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l to r: Canal Minister Royo, President of Panama Nito Cortizo & Canal Adminitrator Ricaurte Vazquez

Panama celebrates 20 years of the Canal transfer with flag raising

With the raising of the national flag by the President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo, in the Administration Building, Panama celebrated today the 20 years of transfer of the Canal, during which the interoceanic highway has contributed to the growth and development of the country .President Cortizo raised the flag on the outside of the Canal Administration Building, right in the same place where 20 years ago the transfer of the US interoceanic highway to Panamanian hands took place.

At noon on December 31, 1999, Panama assumed full control over the operation and administration of the Canal, as well as the surrounding areas, in compliance with the treaties signed in 1977 between the head of the Panamanian government, General Omar Torrijos, and the President of the United States, Jimmy Carter.

20 yeas later

In the ceremony on Tuesday, the President of the Board of Directors and Minister for Canal Affairs, Aristides Royo, and the administrator of the road, Ricaurte Vásquez Morales, as well as ex-plaintiffs of the Republic, former directors and administrators of the Canal, as well as negotiators participated of the Torrijos-Carter Treaties and protagonists of the deed of January 9, 1964.

Minister Royo stressed that “the meaning and significance of the Panama Canal in Panamanian hands fills us with pride.” «We fought during the 20th century to see a single flag waving in the national territory. Twenty years later we manage the Canal more efficiently. »

Administrator Vásquez Morales said that “over the course of these two decades, we have fulfilled our mandate to operate the Canal in a safe, continuous, efficient and profitable manner.”

He reaffirmed the commitment of the Panama Canal and its team to overcome the challenges facing the interoceanic path towards the future in the context of a world in permanent change, especially in the face of factors such as “climate change and its effects, which clearly impact us ”

Here are a series of milestones reached during the 20 years of Panamanian administration of the Canal:

  • December 31, 1999 – Panama assumes administration of the Canal.
  • October 22, 2006 – Panamanians decide, by means of referendum, to expand the Canal.
  • September 3, 2007 – The construction of the expanded Canal officially begins.
  • September 4, 2010 – Bulk carrier Fortune Plum becomes one million transit through the Canal.
  • July 14, 2011– First emptying in the new locks of the Panama Canal.
  • June 9, 2016 – The test vessel ” Baroque “  crosses the new Atlantic locks.
  • June 26, 2016 – Inauguration of the expanded Channel.
  • May 14, 2018 – Travel the largest cruise to date: the Norwegian Bliss, which has more than 168,000 gross tons and capacity for almost 5,000 passengers.
  • May 15, 2019 – The vessel Triton became the largest ship that has crossed the expanded Panama Canal. The ship carries 15,313 TEU (20-foot containers).
  • August 2, 2019 – Panama Canal inaugurates the Atlantic Bridge, which now holds the world record as the cable-stayed concrete bridge, four lanes, with the longest visible light at 530 meters.
  • August 27, 2019 – The Panama Canal opens its first interactive center in Santiago de Veraguas, as a vehicle to connect Panamanians, mainly students, with the route, its history, operation and impact for the country and the world.
  • December 14, 2019 – The container ship APL Barcelona becomes the neopanamax 8,000 vessel in transit the expanded Canal.

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