Logos Hope has made her first voyage through the Panama Canal. After a four-month stay in Mexico, the ship sailed for seven days to Balboa; making a much-anticipated evening transit of the waterway. The experience was a first for the majority of the volunteer crewmembers serving on the vesesel.
The canal stretches for 50 miles (80 kilometres) and is a man-made waterway, which crosses the country of Panama and connects the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. It allows ships to avoid having to travel all the way around the South American continent, saving time and money in the transport of goods.
The project of building the canal was initiated by the French in 1881 and was later taken over by the United States of America. Opened in 1914, the series of lock gates is now fully under the control of the Panama Canal Authority. It has seen more than a million passenger and cargo vessels pass through and the feat of engineering has been hailed as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
At the mouth of the Panama Canal, Logos Hope ended her journey for her month-long visit to the Central American country. Special guests were welcomed on board the vessel for the official opening in Balboa, where they were greeted by Logos Hope’s leaders.
Captain Dirk Colenbrander (Netherlands) shared that his crew was very excited about the unique experience of transiting the canal. “We received some inspectors on board to make technical surveys, and the ship received this beautiful gift from them. It says: ‘The great connection made in transit on the occasion of the first passage through the Panama Canal of Logos Hope.’”
Capt Dirk continued, “When I looked at it and read the word ‘connection,’ it stuck with me. We had nice connections with the inspectors, and with the pilot who came on board, who had actually served on our previous vessels. We arrived here after midnight and the Major of the Aeronaval [Panamanian National Air and Naval Service] was there with his people, to welcome us into the port. We have just started our visit here and we have already made so many connections,” he explained. The captain described the canal itself as a connection between two worlds; two oceans.
Encouraging the crew to continue what he called great and beautiful humanitarian work, Balboa’s Subdirector General, Juan Pino, said, “With faith, your mission will be fulfilled. That is the main asset that we have to fulfil our own mission. May God bless you all.”