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NGOs such as Oceanosanos strongly criticized the project for the irregular fishing of the Asian fleet in the so-called mile 201

Chinese company halts initial project to build megaport

Click on the flag for more information about Uruguay URUGUAY
Monday, June 17, 2019, 22:30 (GMT + 9)

The Chinese fishing group that intended to build a megaport in Uruguay to assist the fleet competing in the southwest Atlantic with the Galician ships has decided not to carry out the project.

Although they had already secured 28 hectares of land in Punta Yeguas (an area less than 10 kilometers west of Montevideo) as the area of ​​influence of the port of Montevideo was extended there to boost the work, Shandong Baoma Fishery Group revealed last week that the investment of USD 250 million (about EUR 222 million at the current exchange rate) will not be made. At least for the moment. The manager of the firm in the country, Julio López, explained at the same time that the Ministry of Transport and Public Works offered them an alternative land, in Punta Sayago (closest to the Uruguayan capital).

"We have nothing at all, it has been an unformatted offer," he explained.

The manager of Shandong Baoma Fishery Group spoke to local media El País, to which he assured that "the project in Punta Yeguas will not be carried out" because "the Municipality of Montevideo declared the area a natural rural area and is not suitable for ports."

In the interview Lopez stressed that the new offer by the Uruguayan government of Tabaré Vázquez lacks the necessary explanations. "Neither the extension of the area, nor in what precise place would be located, nor how much coast or other valuable data," were informed. "So from that primitive project we have nothing," he insisted.

Plan of the project prepared by the Chinese company (Photo: Stock File)

On this last point, mayor of the Municipality A of Montevideo (one of the eight districts in which the capital is divided) Gabriel Otero confirmed to another communication media of the country that Punta Sayago appears as one of the future options for the Chinese megaport. Speaking to Radio Uruguay, Otero recalled that for the project to be carried out in Punta Yeguas, the soil had to be requalified. "The rules are very clear, we are interested in having investments but not at any cost," insisted the mayor of Municipality A, which includes both Punta Sayago and Punta Yeguas.

Marches, protests and little support has had the project so far (Photo: Stock File)

What they do have clear from Shandong Baoma Fishery Group is that they will not carry out the initial project, which included an 800-meter pier, a repair shipyard, a fish processing factory, a fishmeal mill, an ice mill, a 20,000-ton fuel tank, a stowage field for containers, an office building and rooms for the staff.

Now, the Chinese firm will have to see the options offered by Punta Sayago land, a point located less than 8 kilometers in a straight line from the port of the Uruguayan capital and that already has other facilities (Punta Sayago Logistic Port), Not like Punta Yeguas.

On the other hand, Julio Lopez was annoyed in the interview with the controversy created around the port. He assured that part of the criticisms are "unfounded fantasies", first of all because the port would serve "fishermen of any country" and would be mainly focused on "maintenance, either of hulls, machines, fishing equipment, cold storagean ropes, and for provisions."

The port was met with opposition in Uruguay since the investment was made public. NGOs such as Oceanosanos strongly criticized the project for the irregular fishing of the Asian fleet in the so-called mile 201 - that is, on the maritime boundary of Argentina - and in the Falkland area. In fact, the newspaper El País published a report last November that stated that since 2013 the port of Montevideo had received an average of one corpse a month from the Asian fleet that operates in the Southern Cone: 53 dead in 52 months.

Author: Adrián Amoedo / Faro de Vigo

 

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