Raw Video : Ship Crushes “Mule” Train in Panama Canal

Mules or tow trains in Panama Canal are train locomotives that help steer large ships through the canal, preventing them from hitting and damaging the canal.

However, in a recent accident, a tow train become the victim when a large container carrier almost crushed it when being guided in one of the water locks.

Luckily, no one was injured in the accident. But the mule was badly damaged.


Watch the video below:

More information on mules:

The mules run on rack tracks, train tracks with a toothed rail down the middle to help the train climb steep inclines. The rack tracks run along both sides of the Panama Canal. Large ships are steered by 4 mules on each side of the ship, two in the front (bow) and two in the rear (stern). The mules are for steering and don’t actually tow the ships. Smaller vessels don’t use the mules, but instead use hand lines which are controlled by the ship’s crew. (Reference: Virtualpanama.com)

Do you have more information on the accident? Let us know in the comments below.

Video Credits: Paul Godin

NOTE: Marine Insight does not have enough information to verify this video and cannot vouch for its accuracy.

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  1. The “lower” mule should have stayed behind the “Shoulder” of the ship, as he could see the ‘angle of approach’ of the ship. Large ships like this one are able to damage lantern masts meters away from the side of the lock. (or gantry cranes at container terminals)

  2. Why does the video blink immediately before the accident?
    The change of course is so sudden that something must have happened. Did the mules on the other side of the canal not engage properly? Did a cable snap?

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