Controversy has erupted in Punta Arenas as to the consequences for the cruise season of the damage suffered by the Mardones jetty after a container vessel crashed into its structure.
While tourism authorities are speculating as to the number of cruise vessels that could be stranded, the head of Punta Arenas port authority argues nothing can be said until the final report on Mardones damages and how long will repairs take.
The regional head of the Chilean Tourism board Carla Ivelic anticipated that an estimated 15 out of 103 cruise calls this coming season (September/April) will suffer consequences.
We know that an estimated 15 cruises will have to anchor and we will have to coordinate the landings. It's not such a big number out of 103 calls, but we have to be prepared and minimize major problems said Ivelic, quoted by La Prensa Austral.
However in early September a meeting is scheduled to address services, port infrastructure and other related activities to the coming summer season.
But Mario Maturara Jaman, head of the Punta Arenas port corporation discarded all those arguments until a full technical report on the structural damage to the jetty has been received, and the plan to repair it.
So far there is no such information, nor do we know when it will be delivered, when repairs will begin and if restrictions, if any, will have to be implemented. We will try to have it done in the shortest time possible, but if not the cruise vessels with be serviced at the Prat jetty or some other alternative, but cruise vessels impeded by the accident so far there are none emphasized Maturana Jaman.
He added that in case the problems persist once the season begins, depending on the Mardones jetty conditions, we don't discard that the structure could still be used, but all this will be known next week.
Finally regarding complaints about the alleged delays in shipping Punta Arenas exports, because of the Mardones incident, Maturana said he was surprised because not one of incoming or outgoing vessels has been left without service. We are working normally.