Twelve years have passed since the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) boasted a renowned incorporation. The remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Liropus 2000, whose cost amounted to almost 1.5 million euros, was added to the rest of the scientific equipment of the national research fleet. Regarding the rest, the great advance it represented was its ability to operate up to more than 2,000 meters deep, demonstrated in several operations and also in rescue work. Key was her participation in the discovery of the body of Olivia, the girl who disappeared along with her sister Anna de Ella after her father Tomás Gimeno murdered them in Tenerife. And key could be his participation in the location and filming of the wreck of the Villa de Pitanxo, as the families of the 21 deceased left by the sinking of the Marín trawler on February 15 have been claiming. Both this ROV and the one offered, free of charge, by a Norwegian company.
However, the patience of the relatives with the central Administration ran out this Friday when they learned that the IEO will ship the vessel Viscount of Eza for three months to the wreck site, Newfoundland. No robot and no intention of looking for the ship, only to analyze fishery resources. “This is the straw that has broken the camel’s back,” she said yesterday indignantly family spokesperson, María José de Pazowho branded the news “unparalleled contempt” and “more than regrettable” that they haven’t tried to send a robot into the area to search for the ship. Both the families and the Xunta ask that the ship not leave Vigo this Sunday, as planned, if it is not with an ROV and with side scan sonar to locate the ship.
In contrast, sources of Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food They explained that the Viscount of Eza “is not prepared for this type of task” and that his staff, made up of scientists, is not adequate. In addition, they rule out that an ROV (either the Norwegian or the IEO) can be uploaded on board “because it would affect the stability of the boat”for which they cite a report made by a naval engineer on the matter.
“This is the straw that broke the camel’s back,” say families
Last week the families met with the president of the Galician Executive, Alfonso Rueda, and with the Minister of the Sea, Rosa Quintana. After the meeting, it was revealed that a Norwegian firm would provide a free ROV with the necessary capacity for the mission and the sonar. Then, the Xunta undertook to get in touch with the Government so that they would give up one of the boats to travel to Newfoundland and find the Villa de Pitanxowhose location is key so that the investigation being carried out has full guarantees for the trial in which they request 21 crimes of reckless homicide and against the rights of workers against the captain, Juan Padín, one of the three survivors.
The Viscount of Ezawhich has an ROV with a depth capacity of 600 meters (the trawler is estimated to be one kilometer deep) and a multibeam echo sounder of up to 5,000 meters, will travel from tomorrow until September 2 to the NAFO fishing ground. Nevertheless, there he will only carry out the usual fishing campaigns to study the resources of the area (called Platuxa, Flemish Cap Y Black Halibut 3L), mainly cod, Greenland halibut, shrimp, redfish, dab, flounder, sole, grenadier, and rays.
How do you have to locate the fishing boat?
Captain Rodrigo Tuero, from the Asturleonesa Maritime Consultants company, prepared a report for the families in which he analyzed the feasibility and operation of locating the Villa de Pitanxo, as advanced FARO. These are the main conclusions.
The first thing would be to locate the remains of the ship. To do this, it is necessary to have equipment with a magnetometer or lateral probe –like those that oceanographers have– to scan with multibeam signals, which would throw different points of interest on the bottom that could potentially be the ship and that should be discarded one by one. one until you find Villa de Pitanxo.
– Refine and search.
To do this, it would be enough to delimit an area of 25 square miles with respect to the last satellite position received from the ship. Through an orderly sweep with the probes it could be covered in about 24 hours. From there, the complicated task of finding the case of 50 meters in length at the bottom would begin.
Although there are technical reports that show that Spain has the necessary means and that the preparations for the operation against Canada “can be done in 10 days”as published by FARO, for the moment the Government has not moved file and the news of the oceanographic trip to Newfoundland upset families and Xunta. “It would be a real nonsense not to take advantage of the campaign to track down the sinking area and make the inquiries requested by the families”, sources from the Xunta transferred yesterday, who insisted on the intention of “defraying the logistics of the means to be used, as long as the State put a ship”. “It makes no sense to pay something in the private market that the State has,” they insist in relation to oceanographic vessels.
María José de Pazo, for her part, warned that the Government has still not answered them and that next week they will carry out mobilizations in Madrid hand in hand with the unions that support them in their claim. “We have waited three months, but this is already unacceptable”, she moved yesterday, “that we are not informed of these is the straw that has broken the camel’s back”.
The expert estimates that the inspection to be carried out with the ship’s remotely operated vehicle (ROV) could be carried out in about 48 hours. With this it will be possible to check its condition, collect evidence and, above all, know if the rigging is tied to the deck winches. Everything that is necessary to try to explain the shipwreck.
– The ROV.
The ship is at a depth of about 1,000 meters, so the ROV must have enough capacity to get there. The IEO has one that will meet these characteristics, the Liropus 2000, which reaches up to 2,000. Furthermore, a Norwegian firm offered another one for free.
The ROV must arrive at the NAFO fishing ground aboard a specific type of vessel from among those available in Spain. The expert analyzed that the ideal would be the Sarmiento de Gamboa, 70 meters. If that is used, the operation could be prepared in 10 days, although “the use of another vessel could be considered” with equipment transferred. That could go in Viscount of Eza.