Salvage operation for RoRo Coyhaique and 200-plus cattle on board

A salvage operation has started on RoRo Coyhaique (IMO 8009026) which ran aground on July 3rd near Huichas island in the Moraleda channel, near Puerto Aguirre, Aysén Region, Chile, en route from Puerto Chacabuco to Puerto Montt.

The ship had 20 passengers, 18 crew members and some 200 cattle in trucks on board. She was listing to port. All the humans were taken ashore by motor boat and transferred to Puerto Aguirre in good health, although  one officer died for a reason that was still being investigated.

The salvors had to contend with 15 cattle trucks on deck. By July 7th, 17 of the 244 cattle had already died.

The ship’s hull was breached and its engine room flooded with some oil pollution. Salvors were trying to stabilize the ship before working out how best to take the cattle to safety, likely via a ship-to-ship transfer. Food and water was being delivered the cattle through the top of the trucks.

It was a week before Oxxean SA refloated the ship, along with the surviving cattle in an operation that involved some 90 technicians and workers, plus six support vessels. They controlled the water ingress and sealed the leaks, enabling the ship to be towed to Puerto Laguna, which was 7km south of the grounding position. That spot offered better conditions during the South American winter for temporary repairs and the rescue of the animals. The cattle were taken aboard three vessels heading for Puerto Chacabuco.

1983-built, Chile-flagged, 7,765 gt Coyhaique is owned and managed by Navimag Carga SA of Las Condes, Chile. It is entered with Standard Club (International Division) on behalf of Navimag Carga SA.