Canal mules: original and modern
Stories from the United States' relationship with the Panama Canal, in celebration of its centenary
The Panama Canal mules, unlikely to the general perception, they do not move the ships forward, but they are in charge of slowing them down with precision to avoid collisions. Even though, at the moment of the construction the ships passed by the locks with ease; nowadays the size of the ships has greatly increased. The ships require the mules’ aid to move accurately. The number of mules needed depend on the size of the ship; for example, it can be used 8 mules for the largest ships. The mules are electrical since they were installed. The ability and technique required to handle a mule is considerable, some ships pass by the canal with only a 60 centimeters margin in relation to the locks’ wall.