HMS Richmond navigates the Panama canal for the first time in 20 years

Seaweed

War Hero
Book Reviewer
#3
Went through in HMS London in 1964 - anchored half way through in the Gatun Lake and turned on the pre-wetting to wash down the paintwork with freshers. Also the pilot who was getting into his boat.
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
#7
Always amuses me, the word "navigate" when applied to a canal. The navigation does the navigating for you, not the navigator. Therefore, once you go bows in, there is no alternative other than "to travel a planned route on a desired course". It's one of the few occasions when a navigator should not manage to lose his way. It always leaves me bemused why a ship must additionally carry a pilot to transit a canal.
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
#9
The Panama Canal transit is the only occasion a RN Commanding Officer is not culpable if he/she hits something. The Panama Canal Company insists that their Pilots "have" the Ship for the duration of the transit.
If it's their canal, they call the shots, I s'pose. On some levels, it does seem odd that a warship and it's contents are technically under the command of another nation during transit, but at the same time it is odder that someone who doesn't have any experience of that particular ships handling characteristics, is given control.
 

Seaweed

War Hero
Book Reviewer
#10
Some snaps from going through from the Pacific side in HMS Euryalus in 1968:

Balboa bridge at the Pacific entrance:

Panama Balboa Bridge.jpg

For those who haven't been through, these are the 'mules' that take tow the ship though the locks:

Panama Canal 2.jpg

Top of a lock:

Panama Canal 3.jpg

Colour has faded a bit but then so have I.
 

Seadog

War Hero
Moderator
#12
As to why the pilot (?), imagine the effect of a ship ( warship/auxiliary/commercial) having a accident in a narrow or lock. Strategic.

I was in a ship behind a cruise ship transiting Pacific - Atlantic and they were on their first ever trip through. Although the hull was < Panamax the bridge wings were a bit generous and there was a bit of a wait while measurements were taken and the vessel was towed at a snail's pace, lest the bridge wings bring the lighting towers down. Slowed the whole week up for the canal authority.

Surprised to see the mensh of guests from the NCA in RICHMOND's release. I know that the NCA are deployed overseas, I just didn't think it was deemed public domain, complete with pictures.
 
#13
Went through on Swiftsure in 86 - on the surface! We were escorted by heavily armed USMC in rigid raiders, as naughty people in the jungle had been taking pot shots at Elmer boats going through.
 

Seadog

War Hero
Moderator
#14
Black cat alert:

I've done 4 transits, the first three when the US had sovereignty. Not convinced that the raiders where crewed by marines, some crew looked a bit lardy but that was a decade after your trip SB.

Spent an extended period in Panama too. Not as shabby as some may think.
 

janner

MIA
Book Reviewer
#15
Had a couple of weeks in Panama City in 1968 on the way back from Singers, it was agreed that it was a good run, not that anyone remembered much about it.
 

Seaweed

War Hero
Book Reviewer
#17
^ circumnavigation was the way to do it, with Christmas in Simonstown. Back via NZ, Fiji, Pearl, San Diego. It's how we won the Cold War. Tough but someone had to do it.
 
#18
There was an Elvis song called 'Guitar Man' where he refers to Panama City and it's all night bars.
Being someone with an inquisitive mind I had to verify that claim...sure enough at 05 dubs we were ushered into an
ajoining room while they swept out and had a general tidy up ready for the new day, then let us back in.

:drunken:
 
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