Rescue efforts criticized in Peru as eight fishermen feared dead

Published on
April 20, 2018

Peru’s National Fishery Society (SNP) welcomed an increase in efforts to locate eight missing crewmembers following the collision of two fishing vessels off the coast of the port of Chimbote last week.

According to a statement from the SNP, the collision occurred on 11 April between two fishing vessels, one owned by its member, the Austral Group, and the other owned by the Segjona Corporation (SAC). 

Local radio station Radio RSD reported that the collision involved Austal’s steel “Malena” and the wooden “Maria Esperanza II.” The two ships collided and the “Maria Esperanza II” sunk with 12 crew members onboard. Four members were successfully rescued the day of the accident. The bodies of two of the eight missing members have since been recovered. 

Some family members were critical of the pace of the rescue, pointing out that Peru’s naval forces only sent out one surface patrol the same day of the accident, according to a report in national daily La Republica.

The general manager of Austral Group, Adriana Giudice, said in the SNP statement that the firm has been supporting the efforts of Peru’s naval forces from day one, as well as solidarity actions with local authorities to support the families of the disappeared crew members. 

The Captain of the Chimbote port, Carlos Dìaz, also assured that authorities immediately activated their rescue plans and have been using state of the art technology to facilitate the efforts.

SNP President Elena Conterno said in the statement that the incident affects all the fishing industry, especially the families in Santa Rosa, near the rescue operations. 

Conterno also said it would be irresponsible to opine or discredit the rescue efforts thus far, and that it was important to await the results of an investigation into what exactly occurred.

Austral Group is part of Norway’s Austevoll Seafood. The company produces fishmeal, fish oil, canned fish, and frozen fish. It has its own fleet of vessels and four processing sites in Peru. 

Photo courtesy of RSD Radio

Reporting from Santiago, Chile

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