Gigantic Greek Container Ship is Largest Vessel to Pass Through Panama Canal

The enormous container ship “Neopanamax Triton”. Source: Wikipedia

The enormous container ship called the “Neopanamax TRITON,” owned by the Greek shipping company Costamare, is now the largest vessel to transit the Panama Canal since its expansion in 2016.

The container ship is 51.2 meters (168 feet) wide, and 369 meters (1,211 feet) long. It passed through the canal on May 15, 2019, between 2:00 AM and 18:00 PM local time, en route from Kaohsiung, Taiwan to Colon, Panama.

By this passage, it broke the record, set in August of 2017 by the container ship “CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt,” which is 48.25 meters (158 feet) wide and 365.96 meters (1,201 feet) long.

Panama Canal’s Recent Widening and Lengthening Accommodates Today’s Giant Ships

The TRITON’s passage through the waterway became possible after increasing the width of the canal from 49 meters to 51.25 meters (168 feet, 1 inch) wide, and by increasing the length of the canal from 366 meters to 369 meters (1,211 feet) after a series of successful tests.

The decision to increase the width of the canal was taken by the Panama Canal Authority in June of 2018, two years after the successful operation of the newly-lengthened canal.

The maximum permissible vessel length remains officially at 366 meters, but the Panama Canal Authority makes exemptions for ships such as the TRITON, and may increase the permitted length to 369 meters after successful tests.

A historic moment for international shipping

Markos Pragias, the TRITON’s captain, noted in a statement that the passage of the “largest ship to ever cross the Panama Canal has been successfully completed, thanks to our exemplary cooperation with our charterers and the Canal Management Company, the methodical work of the crew of the ship and the pilots of the Canal.”

“This is a milestone in international shipping, and we hope that it will pave the way for larger container ships to operate the Panama Canal, thereby giving more choice to carriers and making the most out of the potential of the enlarged Canal,” Pragias added.