On Wednesday, the 2017-built wellboat Seikongen took on water and sank during a voyage between Camanchaca and Chonchi, a small fishing port on the island of Chiloe. The vessel had about 40,000 fish and 17,000 gallons of fuel on board when she went down. Local media report that a Navy speedboat and a good samaritan vessel, the Eidsvuaag Atlantic, helped rescue the Seikongen's 11 crew.
A Chilean Navy anti-pollution unit deployed to the scene to place containment boom around the wreck site, and navy divers have inspected the vessel and ensured that her fuel tanks remain sealed. The Seikongen's cargo of fish is still contained in her holds.
"The first stage of the emergency is already controlled, [and we are] instructing the representative of the damaged ship to activate its emergency protocols in order to secure the vessel. As for the causes, circumstances and those responsible for the incident, this is the subject of a summary administrative investigation by the Maritime Prosecutor's Office," said the maritime governor, Capt. Héctor Aravena.
The Chilean branch of Greenpeace has called on the government to do everything possible to prevent pollution from the vessel from harming the marine environment. Chiloe's fishing communities have been hit hard in recent years by severe outbreaks of toxic algal blooms – “red tide” – and Greenpeace suggested that the region could not afford another environmental disaster.