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Big Panama Canal locks launch. Everything is ready for Panama’s biggest celebration this year, when the expanded Canal is officially inaugurated on Sunday, June 26 and the container ship “Andronikus”, property of the Chinese shipping Company, Cosco, becomes the first mega ship to use the third set of locks. The celebrations at the locks will cost $1 million, including the banquets which will be offered to the heads of State, Panama Canal’s clients and employees.
Mario Gotti, coordinator of the Expanded Canal’s events said that on Sunday, June 26 there will be two ceremonies, one on the Atlantic side in the Agua Clara locks at 8:00 a.m., where the Panama Canal administrator, Jorge Luis Quijano will welcome the “Andronikus” and give thanks to the 40,000 workers who helped build the third set of locks.
The flag will be raised and the locks will be blessed by the Ecumenic Council (the fraternal association of Christian churches). After that the President of the Republic, Juan Carlos Varela, will officially inaugurate the locks. There will be a performance with 150 national artistes, including dancers, actors, singers, musicians taking part and later a firework display.
600 workers who worked in the locks construction will receive the ship in the middle chamber and higher chamber as it transits on its way to the Gatun Lake.
Due to limited space, there will only be 5,000 tickets available to witness the transit of the “Andronikus” through the Agua Clara locks and they will be available at the Armando Dely Valdes Stadium in Colón from 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 11.
A similar ceremony will take place at the Cocoli Locks, this time in the presence of the heads of state, Panama Canal’s clients and employees. Seventy countries have been invited to witness this historical event. So far ten presidents and head of states have confirmed their participation. They are: Chile, Paraguay, Taiwán, El Salvador; Honduras, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Portugal and Colombia.
20,000 free tickets will be issued to witness this historical event, which can be acquired at different points on Saturday, June 11 and Sunday, June 12.
On Sunday, June 12 those interested in going to the celebrations at the Cocoli Locks can pick up their tickets at the following locations: Albrook Mall Dinosaur Hall, Ciudad Deportiva Irving Saladino, Rommel Fernandez and Rod Carew stadiums from 6:00 p.m.
Big Panama Canal locks launch: The rest of the country can join in the festivities in the following places where the progress of the “Andronikus” can be followed on giant screens: Panama province: Pacific Lookout at the Coastal Strip; La Chorrera: Parque Libertadores; Colón City: Calle 10 and Ave Central, near the San Jose Church; Chitre, Herrera province: Parque Union; Santiago, Veraguas province: La Placita; David,Chiriqui province: Parque Cervantes. The Darien location will be announced soon. There will be live transmission on the different television channels.
In the following days after the third set of locks starts operating, the public will have free access to them. Additionally, ACP officers will travel to the provinces to explain how the third set of locks works and arrange tours for those wishing to come and see the locks in action.
For more information about the Panama Canal Expansion’s celebrations visit micanaldepanama.com