Problems continue for “Seikongen”

Stian Olsen

“Seikongen” was supposed to have arrived in the port of Talcahuano already on Sunday, but problems have severely delayed its arrival.

Early last Tuesday morning (Chilean time) marked the start of towing the “Seikongen” away from Chonchi, just south of Castro on the island of Chiloé in southern Chile, to Talcahuano. The wellboat sank after only a month of operation in October last year.

There were several delays before a raising of “Seikongen” was able to be implemented and now problems just seem to compound for the vessel.

According to BioBioChile “Seikongen” is anchored at Ancud, farthest north off the island of Chiloé, which is only 80 kilometres as the crow flies from where the towing started. The reason for the wellboat being here, is due to the tugboat “Taltal” sustaining engine trouble underway to Talcahuano. A new tugboat, “Allipen”, was sent from the Bío-Bío region (midway on Chile’s coastline), and has already reached “Seikongen”.

Entry denied to Talcahuano port
Ancud’s harbour master, Ricardo Barrios, said there are several reasons why “Seikongen” is still unable to leave Ancud, even though a new tugboat is in place.

Barrios explained that the weather is unfavourable on the way north, and they would rather wait until conditions improve. Papers also need to be authorised for the new tugboat.

The biggest setback however is that the Court of Appeals in Concepcion, is denying “Seikongen” the right to tie up at wharfside in Talcahuano. The wellboat has to wait for a so-called “Recurso de Protección” to be considered by a law court, according to BioBioChile.

“Recurso de Protección” is, in brief, a form for appeal where the country’s constitutional law provides persons or groups with the right to protest/appeal, if they maintain an action has an adverse effect on constitutional rights.

It was the Mayor of Talcahuano, Henry Campos, who submitted this type of protest last week. Around 100 tonnes of rotten salmon is estimated to still be inside “Seikongen”, and the rotten fish have given off a toxic gas called hydrogen sulphide, which is potentially fatal to human beings. This is the basis for Campos having submitted the appeal, and he heralds the court’s decision as a “triumph”.

“We are thrilled with this decision,” he said.

Keen to get shot of “Seikongen”
Now the Mayor of Ancud, Carlos Gómez, has warned they will also deliver a similar complaint.

“We are submitting this in view of the situation that has emerged,” he told Soy Chile.

Gómez is eager for “Seikongen” to leave Ancud waters immediately. A number of local fishermen and organisations have protested against the wellboat anchoring at Ancud.

Once “Seikongen” finally arrives at Talcahuano, the rotten salmon will be transported by trucks from the port to a special plant in the town of Florida, which is situated around 40 kilometres away from the port.



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