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The Seikongen has been raised after more than nine months lying in shallow water. Photo: Salmon Expert
The Seikongen has been raised after more than nine months lying in shallow water. Photo: Salmon Expert

The wellboat Seikongen, which sank during salmon farming operations in the Chiloe region of Chile in October, has been successfully re-floated in a nine-hour operation.

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About 50 people, including professionals from the ship’s owner, CPT, and experts from the salvage company Ardent, as well as personnel from the Chilean Navy and authorities, have been working on a plan to re-float the vessel. The aim is to have it towed 800km north to the harbour in Talcahuano, reports Fish Farming Expert’s Chilean sister site, Salmon Expert.

Chiloe governor Fernando Borquez told Salmon Expert that he wanted to praise the work done by Ardent and CPT, as well as the Chilean Navy, so far.  

"The mission went well, and now the boat is floating by itself, so work can be started on it. We are very pleased with the results," said Borquez.

Watch a video of the Seikongen below. Source: Maritime Governance of Castro.

The vessel sank off the coast of Chiloè on October 18 last year, with 200 tonnes of salmon on board. The wellboat was working for salmon farmer Salmones Camanchacas when the incident took place.

Héctor Aravena, Castro Maritime Governor, said that when it comes to transferring the ship to Talcahuano, CPT plans to start the tow on Sunday, but points out that the Seikongen must undergo some inspections first.

“We do this so that all work is in accordance with procedures and regulations. If the inspections show positive results, the ship could be towed to the Biobio region,” said Aravena.

“A very professional job was carried out by officials in the Navy, Sernapesca, health service, fisheries directorate and health authorities. In addition, further monitoring will be supervised by the Chilean Navy and Sernapesca, so there will be no unintended events during the tow,” he said.

The Seikongen took nine hours to be re-floated with the help of a crane. Photo: Maritime Governance of Castro.
The Seikongen took nine hours to be re-floated with the help of a crane. Photo: Maritime Governance of Castro.
The wellboat will be checked for seaworthiness before being towed 800km to the north. Photo: Maritime Governance of Castro.
The wellboat will be checked for seaworthiness before being towed 800km to the north. Photo: Maritime Governance of Castro.

More than 100 people have been involved in the process of getting the vessel raised. The weather conditions in the area have meant that the work has been repeatedly delayed. 

The cost of recovering the ship is around US$5 million.

The Seikongen was built in Hong Kong in 2017. It had 11 crew on board at the time of the sinking, all of whom were safely transferred to another vessel. 

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