Chile: Salmon lorry hijacked on ferry
Truck owners’ association criticises lack of response from police after loss of GPS signal triggered alarm
A truck carrying a cargo of salmon to Puerto Montt in Chile was hijacked by an armed gang in Los Lagos region on Friday, Fish Farming Expert’s Chilean sister site, Salmonexpert.cl, reports.
The hijacking occurred on a vehicle ferry crossing the Chacao channel from Chiloé Island, where primary processing is undertaken, to mainland Chile.
Erwin Palma, president of the Association of Truck Owners of the city of Castro, Chiloé, said three unknown persons threatened the owner-driver with a firearm and got into the cab.
Under threat, the driver disembarked from the ferry and continued his journey along Route 5, but after travelling about two or three kilometres the bandits made him park on the road shoulder, took him out of the lorry, covered his head and put him in a car which kept moving for about four hours, until they released the driver in the Maullín commune.
The driver was then able to report the crime to the police, and the truck was later found on a road connecting Route 5 with the city of Calbuco.
Slow response from police
“They took part of the cargo, they couldn’t get it out completely because of the system that has the tank where the salmon are transported, so they took out what they could and left the truck lying at kilometer 2.5 from El Empalme de Calbuco inwards,” Palma told news outlet Soy Chile.
Palma claimed that the truckers’ association notified the police long before that something anomalous was happening since “at half past one in the morning the company’s surveillance team set off the alarms because the truck disappeared from the GPS signal at the exit of Pargua. We found out minutes later and notified in a timely manner and even so there were no results in terms of rapid action by the police”.
Regarding the owner of the truck, Palma commented that “he has just this one truck and is associated with us in Castro and has worked for us for many years. He is an honest and transparent person”.
Palma also expressed his fear of crime. “The association had not had this problem of assaults, this is a worrying situation and we have to see to it somehow with the owners who are in Chacao.”
Hijackings of trucks carrying salmon are relatively frequent in Chile, although these mostly happen further south than Los Lagos.