Salmon farmer ordered to monitor sunken feed barge

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Australis’ vessel is underwater.

Last week, it was reported that Puerto Natales Maritime Authority (part of the Chilean Navy) rescued 22 workers from a sinking feed barge that belongs to the salmon farmer Australis Seafoods.

With 22 people on board, the feed barge went adrift and hit a second feed barge called “Australis X”. With the hull damaged, water entered the vessel. This happened in the Punta Obstruction production site, based in Magallanes, southern Chile.

Multiple news sites such as Aqua.cl report that the vessel has now, in fact, sunk. Authorities have now given the salmon farming company orders of a pre-procedural nature.

This means that it must monitor the sea area for two weeks before and after the planned refloating operation for materials and waste.

According to Magellan Superintendency of Environment (SMA) Regional Chief in Magellan Andy Morrison, no leaks have been detected. “The relevant thing is that underwater inspections carried out in the area have not detected the rupture or presence of leaks from the fuel tank, which contained approximately 1,500 litres of diesel oil. In addition, the sunken naval device did not contain food of salmon, chemicals, silage mortality or hazardous waste inside,” he said.

In a statement to the publication, Australis Seafood said it was “very important for the company to continue monitoring the situation on a daily basis so that it can act immediately if necessary, thus complying with all the requirements of the authority”.