The Panama Canal, now more than 100 years old, is one of the great man-made structures in the world and certainly one of the great innovations of its time.
Its construction allowed trade ships to pass between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, eliminating having to travel thousands of miles all the way to the bottom of South America to traverse the two bodies of water.
But, to this day, it requires an experienced boatsman to navigate the series of locks within the Canal, something Carnival Cruise Line's ship, the Fantasy, just found out.
The Fantasy sustained damage on Friday – albeit minimal – after colliding with part of the Panama Canal, according to the digital newspaper Alabama Live.
The Fantasy, which calls Mobile, Alabama its home port, was undergoing repairs over the weekend.
“During Carnival Fantasy’s passage through the Panama Canal this evening, the ship came in contact with one of the locks,” Carnival said in a statement released to the paper. “There are no reports of injuries. The crew’s immediate focus was to safely complete the transit through the canal so they can then assess the extent of any damage. We will share more information as soon as possible.”
The ship left Mobile on Monday for a 10-day cruise to Costa Rica, Mexico and Honduras before returning to Mobile.
The 50-mile canal was built to allow ships to cross from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and vice versa. It can cost ships, especially large ocean liners, up to $50,000 for one single crossing.