Wellboat capsize kills 37,000 harvest-size salmon

Aslak Berge and Stian Olsen

The fish probably suffocated once the oxygen supply failed.

Wednesday morning the brand new Chinese-built wellboat ‘Seikongen’ sank in quiet weather near the village of Chonchi on the eastern side of Isla de Chiloé in southern Chile.

Read also: ‘Seikongen’ in operation for just a month: Watch as the brand new wellboat goes down

Ongoing investigation
CPT Empresas Maritimas, owner of ‘Seikongen’, stated in a press release that the shipping company will lift and repair the wellboat once they have removed all the salmon and fuel.

There are 67 tonnes of fuel and 200 tonnes of harvestable salmon with an average weight of around five kilos on board the 70-metre wellboat, which is now lying ten meters deep.

They did not wish to comment further to Salmon Business.

“We appreciate your inquiry, but unfortunately‚ we are unable to answer your questions, as there is an ongoing investigation,” the company told us via email.

Chilean divers have inspected the hull and currently do not see any fuel leaks. The authorities further state that the load of 37,000 salmon has probably died inside the vessel and will be kept in sealed tanks to avoid environmental contamination.

So far, it is not known what caused ‘Seikongen’ to take in water and capsize.

“Causes, circumstances, and persons responsible for the accident are subject to an investigation by the Maritime Directorate of Castro,” Maritime Governor, Hector Aravena, told Portal Portuario.

None of the crew of 11 people were injured during the capsize Wednesday.