Chilean Marine Harvest workers rescue shipwrecked crew

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Workers from Chilean Marine Harvest farm Isla Lola, in the Aysen region, helped save the lives of the crewmembers of a shipwrecked vessel, by alarming the navy and assisting at the rescue, reports Aqua.

A storm that hit the region of Aysén last weekend surprised the passenger boat ‘Aqua VII’ crewed by skipper Felipe Bilbao Bilbao (44), and crewman Juan Vargas Guerrero, (60), in the vicinity of Isla Orestes Island. In the middle of the Patagonian Canal, the passenger boat crashed into the rocks of the island after motor failure.

The crew was not able to make direct contact with the navy, but their warning signal was captured by workers of Isla Lola salmon farm. They alerted the Port of Puerto Aguirre Navy Captaincy, that immediately activated the rescue procedure.

Rescue operation
After a few hours the Navy managed to establish contact with the damaged vessel, but the rescue boat was not able to approach the rocks due to bad weather conditions and the draught of the patrol boat. The navy officers then asked for help from Marine Harvest salmon farm ‘Isla Lola’ at about 4 kilometer distance from the place of the accident.

At 6 a. m. a team of Marine Harvest workers, headed by farm assistent Hardy Nempo, were able to board the boat and rescue the crewmen.

“We were summoned by the Navy, since they could not approach the rocky place where the shipwreck was, and the two people standing on the rocks, due to the size of their boat. We didn’t hesitate one minute to lend the help needed. Seafarers must always take care of each other,” Hardy Nempo told Salmon Business.

Nempo was accompanied by two workers from the farm at the rescue operation. “Those two, Eladio and Patricio, are men with a lot of experience at sea which made it a lot easier to complete the rescue task successfully. The maneuver was not very complicated, since there were three of us in a smaller boat, which could reach the shore where the two men were standing.”

It took Nempo and his collegeagues only 20 minutes to get to the accident site. “Our farming location is about 4 kilmeter away from the place of the accident. When we arrived it all went pretty quick, but we had to be careful to keep enough distance from the rocks. We were able to get the men on our boat without too much trouble, and embark them on the Navy boat, which took them to the hospital.”

You were not frightened, at any moment? “Not really. We were confident that everything would be successful, because part of our job is to be prepared for this kind of emergency, whether it is to safeguard ourselves or to help those who need it. We are in permanent training at our company, to be well prepared for all kinds of emergencies,” said Nempo.

Hypothermia
The two saved crewmen, were not injured, expect for the beginning of hypothermia. After being treatedat the hosptial, they were brought to their homes in the city of Puerto Cisnes.

The ‘Aqua VII’ remained half-sunken for a few hours, but after the storm had calmed down, was rescued with the help of a transport barge of the salmon farm.