The Captains on the Canal

A $5 billion expansion of the Panama Canal in 2016 introduced a new set of locks and added a new, wider sea lane able to transit twice as many supertankers between the Atlantic and the Pacific as before. It also created a new set of hazards.  

Instead of hiring extra personnel needed to meet the increased workload, the Panama Canal Authority simply doubled-down on the workload for existing employees, stretching them past the brink of exhaustion, and creating a deadly climate of fatigue embedded in a labor struggle on the isthmus.

Journalist Nash Landsman spoke with the tugboat captains who are responsible for guiding the big ships through the canal.