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Puerto Capurro, Montevideo

'We intend Montevideo to be the base port of the fleet that operates in the South Atlantic'

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Friday, October 15, 2021, 21:00 (GMT + 9)

The president of the Uruguayan Port Administration said it before the presentation of the bidding documents for the exploitation of Puerto Capurro, built with the contribution of China. It offers traceability to the catches made in international waters in free port.

"We are confident and convinced that this underpins the growth of port activity and in particular of the activity of the fishing industry," said the president of the National Port Administration (ANP), Juan Curbelo, to Uruguayan media at the time of the presentation of the bidding documents for Puerto Capurro, in Uruguay.

After highlighting the value of giving continuity to the execution of a project started in the previous administration, Curbelo assured that they want Montevideo to become a base port for fishing boats in the region. We are giving the final kick, he said "with the idea that we can develop, together with private activity, a pole of attraction to the regional fishing fleets that operate in the South Atlantic." Montevideo has been designated by international organizations as the gateway to the IUU fishing markets practiced in the South Atlantic and as a logistical base for the vessels that operate there, affecting the interests of the Argentine fishing industry. The former vice chancellor, Roberto García Moritán, said that "it is disappointing that Uruguay confuses priorities."

Complying with the deadlines that had been established and reducing costs for the State, the Port of Capurro in Montevideo, Uruguay, will conclude the works in the middle of next year and move towards the tender of its concession for 30 years, with an option for 20 years. plus. The specifications were approved by the National Port Administration and now the Executive Branch has ratified it.

The Port of Capurro has a berthing capacity for 35 vessels of up to 40 meters and 15 vessels of up to 113 meters in length. The International Fisheries Module has an area of ​​almost 5 hectares, which houses five piers and a 3-hectare esplanade. Another area of ​​7 hectares to carry out other related activities, among which the concessionaire is required to build a 6,000 cubic meter cold store for fishing.

Photo: courtesy ANP

In the last ten years, the port of Montevideo has received an average of 370 arrivals of foreign fishing vessels, mostly of Spanish, Chinese, Korean and English flag, according to the order of importance. They also often receive Falklandian-flagged ships, according to ANP records.

The number of arrivals of national ships is twice as high, but the volume of unloading is ten times less than that of foreign ships; While in 2020 the national fleet unloaded 2,700 tons, the foreign fleet landed 12,800 tons.

Whoever becomes a concessionaire, after paying 14 million dollars and committing to the monthly payment of 58,500 dollars, must present the development project imposed by the ANP that includes, in addition to the cold room, administrative offices and control agencies of State, streets, sidewalks and lights, should also improve the service for the fishing activity.

The ship must be provided with provisioning, docking, mooring, unmooring and naval repairs at the foot of the wall and on board. Likewise, it must supply water and electricity services to the vessels.

Photo: courtesy ANP

For merchandise, under the free port regime, repackaging, remarking, classification, grouping and ungrouping, consolidating and deconsolidating container operations, handling and splitting and other related services will be facilitated, and / or under the logistical deposit regime. , is listed in the tender documents.

The condition of free port exempts the payment of taxes, fees or taxes on the importation of fishing products that are unloaded in Capurro and it is even allowed to carry out activities that add value, without modifying the nature of merchandise, and re-export without imposition. It also allows traceability of insured unreported and unregulated fishing to enter the most demanding markets.

In this port the entry of containers will not be allowed, except those that transport fishing merchandise, to which cold and / or storage services must be provided; Repair and Maintenance. They must also provide fuel service from boats and / or trucks and / or from fixed facilities and coordinate entry and exit of crews.

Develop a regional base for national and foreign fleets and increase the offer of services to fishing vessels, providing "the service under equal conditions to all who request it, on fair and reasonable bases, free from any discrimination, maintaining and ensuring its continuity and regularity ”, is the mandate of the ANP.

It is necessary to remember that not discriminating against the National Ports Administration, as expressed in this medium, years ago, by its former president, implies providing all services to ships that operate in the South Atlantic without taking into account complaints of violation of human rights or alerts of suspected illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Even ships detected within the maritime platform have found refuge in the port of Montevideo in the immediate past.

Photo: courtesy Revista Puerto

At this point, it is also important to remember the report prepared by Oceana, which analyzed the behavior of 800 vessels that operated on our maritime border and in three years detected 600,000 hours of fishing with the AIS system turned off, a behavior that would be associated with entry to our waters and transshipments on the high seas 

In that report, Uruguay was identified as one of the main destinations for the ships that turned off the monitoring system. “Of the vessels with AIS gaps, 31% of them visited the Port of Montevideo, Uruguay, at the end of their trip. This port has supposedly been favored by vessels that carry out illegal activities, ” the Oceana report wrote.

Just a few days ago, former Vice Chancellor Roberto García Moritán wrote in the newspaper Clarín regarding the call for bids for the Capurro port: “Montevideo will soon become a relevant focus of services for foreign fishing vessels that fish in the South Atlantic, in particular granting advantages significant competitive factors if the World Trade Organization (WTO) reduces or eliminates fishing subsidies ”.

On the other hand, he pointed out that “the megabase for the boats that operate in mile 201 is worrying and directly affects Argentine fishing interests in the South Atlantic. Also the sustainability of the various species of marine ecosystems. It is probable that the Uruguayan unilateral decision to favor the Chinese fishing fleet in the South Atlantic has contributed to Beijing's readiness to advance with Montevideo in the negotiations of a free trade agreement "

"It is disappointing that Uruguay confuses priorities, particularly on sensitive issues of good neighborliness that make for the stability of the South Atlantic," concluded García Moritán, the only voice of diplomacy that has been heard in recent years regarding Uruguay's relationship with Illegal or Unreported and Unregulated fishing at mile 201. 

Author / Source: Karina Fernandez / Revista Puerto (article available only in spanish)



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