26 GE Diesels to Power Panama Canal Tugboats

GE Transportation will supply Marinsa, Panama, with 26 V228 diesel engines. The 12-cylinder engines will power 13 new tugboats to be used in the Panama Canal in Panama.

This is a significant order for GE, the largest we’ve received to date in Latin America. We faced stiff competition in the marketplace and are delighted that ultimately our V228 engines were selected for this project,’ said John Manison, manager of GE Transportation’s marine and stationary power business, Erie, Pennsylvania. Marinsa is GE’s authorized distributor in Latin America. The new tugboats will be designed by naval architecture firm Robert Allan Ltd., Vancouver, British Columbia and built by Cheoy Lee shipyard, Hong Kong, Peoples’ Republic of China. The vessels will be an integral part of the Panama Canal Authority’s (ACP) canal expansion plan. The ACP’s ambitious investment program currently underway is aimed at modernizing and improving the canal’s infrastructure. Part of this program increases the tugboat fleet by 20 percent to improve the canal’s ability to assist vessels during transits, especially at lock entrances, and through the Gaillard Cut. The new tugboats will replace locomotives as the primary means to position vessels in the locks. ACP’s canal expansion program was initiated in 1996 to guarantee the canal’s ability to serve anticipated traffic growth. The GE engines will be manufactured at the company’s Grove City, Pennsylvania facility. Robert Allan Ltd. will deliver the first two engines to Cheoy Lee shipyard in December 2009. Delivery of the tugs for service will taper from November 2009 to December 2010.

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