Owen R Murray

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Panama 1981

Below are a few photos from my two week visit to Panama as part of my military training in 1981.  The Canal was opened August 15, 1914 after many years of work and politics.

(Click on photo to see it larger)
Above: Photo taken in 1981, the Oil tanker Overseas Ohio is waiting to enter Miraflores Locks.  In 1994, the Overseas Ohio struck an iceberg in Prince William Sound Alaska. The accident damaged Her forepeak tank which is a ballast tank.  Because the tank was a ballast tank, no oil was spilled.  Thanks goes to Don Bodron with his help on the technical details.  Also visit this link to see the damage to the Overseas Ohio after it struck the iceberg at this link: http://www.dec.state.ak.us/spar/images/gallery/overseasohio/index.htm


Above: The administration building for Miraflores Locks.   The date on the building is 1913.  Miraflores Locks are one set of three locks on the canal.  Miraflores is the nearest to the Pacific Ocean and the tallest of the locks.  The tide on the Pacific side varies a lot more than on the Atlantic side.

Above Left: The bridge turns and the hand rail lowers when the lock is opened.
Above Right: The ship waits in the lock for the water to enter or drain.  No pumps are used.  The water fills or drains using gravity. 

More than 14,000 ships pass through the Panama Canal each year.

Above Left:  The doors to the lock are opening allowing the ship to move down the lock towards the Pacific.  The entire transit of the canal takes about 8 or 9 hours.   The Pacific is lower than the Atlantic side, so a Pacific bound ship is lowered two levels at the Miraflores lock system.

Above Right:  The ships are moved through the narrow locks using locomotive tugs.  The one shown above from 1981 shows US markings.   Since the canal was turned over to Panama in 1999, the "US" markings have been removed.

Above Left: Show the incline or decline of the lock as it drops to the Pacific.
Above Right:  Panama City was built during the construction years starting about 1880.  The old city of Panama from about 1600 is nearby and was destroyed by pirates and the Spanish.    
Click on any photo to see it larger

Housing 1981
Above Right: One of the original town square churches.

Inside the Church
Click on any photo to see it larger.
Above:  Main Street.  Typical 1890-1910 era style city buildings, built with US tax payer's money.

This link takes you to a LIVE Web cam of the Miraflores Locks. 
CLICK HERE to see if a ship is in the locks.


Photos copyright Owen R Murray. 
Shot in 1981 on 35mm slides and scanned to JPEG.

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