Chilean Earthquake Shuts Down Port


Published Sep 18, 2015 3:10 PM by The Maritime Executive

Operations have been halted at Chile’s Coquimbo Port after a magnitude 8.3 earthquake rippled off the cost of Coquimbo and caused a tsunami on September 16. The quake was the largest to hit the country since 2010. Waves reached heights more than 15 feet in the area surrounding Coquimbo Port.

Chile’s national emergency agency issued an evacuation notice for the country’s coastal regions and more than one million have found refuge in shelters. At least ten people are confirmed dead. Officials say 1,800 people in the city of Illapel are without drinking water.

According to reports, the port’s pier sustained no damage, but its cruise passenger terminals and administrative offices suffered extensive damage. Coquimbo will not resume normal operations until a full damage assessment has been submitted. All port employees have been taken to safety and suffered no injuries.

There were at least 12 recorded aftershocks of magnitude 4.9 or higher in the area surrounding the quake’s epicenter within less than two hours of the initial tremors.

Chile is among the world’s most earthquake-prone countries. The 2010 earthquake registered at an 8.8 and in 1960, Chile suffered the largest-ever recorded quake.

Coquimbo Port handled 770,000 metric tons of cargo last year.