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Behind the so-called “red gold fever” is a millionaire business. The case of the Marunteer fisherman Repunte, who has just released the documentary “Paper Ships”, could go to trial and settle jurisprudence on the many cases that hold sea workers hostage.
On June 17, 2017, the Marunteer Repunte fishing vessel sank in the middle of a storm off the coast of Rawson, in Chubut. There were only 2 survivors and 7 missing.
After the wreck the families of the crew began a tireless struggle . Against the tide, against a millionaire business, against companies, the General Fisheries Council, trade unions, the Naval Prefecture and the State. They formed the group “No Sinking More” and installed the theme nationwide.
Gabriela Sánchez is a sociologist and Gustavo’s older sister , the Captain of the Rebound. While in 2017 the first official versions began to talk about human failures after the sinking, she began to internalize statistics that said otherwise.
The same year that the sinking of the Repunte occurred, the Mar del Plata researcher Silvia Paleo had published a work in which she analyzed the wrecks of fisheries from 2000 until June 2017. By that time, in 16 and a half years, the fishing industry had He suffered 41 shipwrecks and left a balance of 86 crew members dead (counting the 7 missing from the rebound).
The survey also provided statistics from the archives of the Administrative Tribunal of the Naval Center, which revealed that the national fishing industry had held the first international position in the area of claims from 1970 to 2000 .
After Rebound that number continued to grow . Between 2000 and 2019, 65 claims were recorded on fishing vessels . Of those 44 were subsidence , not counting the submarine Ara San Juan. There were 135 victims , including dead and missing workers.
“When you lose that way as we lost us our tenés family two options: stay at home and see how rearmás your life, or say enough” , says Gabriela to Infobae , who chose together with the rest of the hardest family those roads.
“We have in front of people who have a lot of power but we have the conviction that this does not have to continue. Because it was not an accident or a catastrophe, this could have been avoided, ” says the sister of the sunken ship’s captain, who has her husband and son working on fishing boats.
Red Gold Rush
The rebound came to the country, already used, in 1968 . It was a fishing boat of 32.6 meters in length belonging to the firm Ostramar SA, and had a seat in the port of the city of Mar del Plata, where he stood for 3 years.
It was the so-called “Red Gold Rush” , the fury for prawns, and the madness of fishing entrepreneurs to take advantage of the demand that seafood currently has, which put the boat back into activity.
It was a ship “merlucero” but from the “fever” was modified . During the last time before the sinking had been added him two outriggers -Arms side pulled another ship, the Don Lucian to venture into fishing for shrimp.
“I think it is one of the central points, both for the sinking of the Rebound and the Rigel (sunk on June 9, 2018), the fact that they have been modified for shrimp fishing. The issue is not that they are modified, the issue is that the Rebound was modified and left without inspections. We don’t know what happened during the storms, but we know, for example, that the thugs broke the raft, ”Gabriela explained.
And he added another fact that allows a parallel to be made between shipwrecks and the “red gold fever” that has ruled a large part of the national fishing industry for 5 years: “If the shrimp season starts on June 1, the last subsidence right away: one to 15 days from the beginning of the season and the other to 9 days . ”
“Look at the differences that exist with last year, which Patricia Bullrich as Minister of Security ordered to make extraordinary inspections of the boats that started fishing for shrimp and we had no sinking . There are differences when inspections are made and when they are not done, ”he added.
The first sinking that could come to trial
The judicial process advances in the Federal Court No. 2 of Rawson, by Gustavo Lleral , the same judge who carried out the investigation of the case of Santiago Maldonado in 2017, which meant for the relatives of the Rebound a year in which there was practically no news or activity around the sinking.
In 2018 El Austral, a CONICET ship manned by members of the Navy sailed to Rawson, to the shipwreck, with the aim of conducting expertise on the sunken ship’s hull and incorporating them into the cause. However, due to the lack of the necessary equipment, in what Gabriela defines as a “striking oblivion” of materials, the works remained unfinished .
“We were allowed to have an expert report, El Austral went but did not bring the hyperbaric chamber , so they could not lower the divers. The ship is sunk in a place that is not as deep, it is 53 meters , but it is also deep diving and could not be done without it, ”Gabriela explained to Infobae .
“The procedural times are not ours,” he says. In February 2019, they made the request to have the skills that were left unfinished again, a key resource that is needed so that the collapse of the Rebound may be the first in the country to reach trial; but almost a year there was no news.
“We are convinced that here there are responsibilities: the businessmen, the firm Caputo, the Prefecture, the General Fisheries Council that justified the inactivity of the Rebound in a very suspicious way and the Simape (Maritime Union of Fishermen)”, listed the sociologist about possible Direct, indirect and cover-makers.
The tragedy of the Rebound also came to the cinema by the documentary “Paper Ships” , which was already awarded in Madrid, Spain, and that on Friday will be screened at the Deliberative Council of Mar del Plata, in front of the mayor Guillermo Montenegro and the 24 councilors and councilors, shipyards, social organizations and workers.
The director is Fernando Duarte , who is also a naval engineer and sought to make visible the problem of subsidence, but also the struggle of family members and make clear the changes that have to occur, especially in the renewal of the fishing fleet, to prevent More tragedies
“In a society where everything goes through the visual, in a country that is never thought of as a maritime country, it is very difficult to problematize some of this and that is why we somehow have to make it visible,” Gabriela shared with Infobae , about the importance of production as part of a fight that 2020 will turn three years old.
In spite of the anguish, the pain, many times of the threats or reprisals to the members of “Not a Sinking More”, they got at this time among many other things that the National Transportation Safety Board is created so that they can be investigated independently the subsidence, promote the National Claims Law, whereby maritime catastrophes have the same entity as the aerial ones.
They also managed to ensure that today the ships that leave to the south have double life rafts and that all workers have exhibition suits , which allow them to be kept afloat and at a temperature for 6 hours. Teams like this could have saved the crew of the Rebound. The water temperature in the area where the wreck occurred in 2017 is 3 degrees below zero, and the survival time in these conditions is 15 minutes.