US$5m recovery of sunk wellboat “Seikongen” poised to start

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Eight months after she sunk in 10m of water, the Chilean well boat “Seikongen”, owned by Empresa Maritimas, is being readied for recovery.

The boat was contracted to Camanchaca when it was lost last October in waters just off the village of Chonchi, located south of Castro on Isla Chiloé in southern Chile.

It had 37,000 salmon and 70,000 liters of fuel on board and remains visible from the surface.

Local fishermen and the coastal community have been living in fear of a damaging pollution spill and demands for a quick recovery have been mounting.

According to the Chilean website Aqua, preparations are underway and the recovery will begin June 23 and expected to last four days.

The refloating of the “Seikongen” is in charge of the company Ardent, while the Navy and other public services will control the maneuvers.

The cost of the recovery has been put at US$5 million.

Local authorities in Chiloé, along with representatives from the local community together with salvage firms Dutch Ardent and CPT Servicios Marítimos, met last week for a briefing on the recovery.Why the “Seikongen” went down is unknown and is subject to a widescale investigation.

The international environmental pressure group Greenpeace claimed shortly after the sinkin they had found documentation that allegedly show the Hong Kong built wellboat left the shipyard despite known construction faults.