(QCOSTARICA) The fertilizer company, Fertica, has been ordered to recover the barge which sank on May 2 in Puntarenas, with a cargo if 180 tons of ammonium nitrate.

THe Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes (MOPT) said the barge is an imminent threat and a hazard and it is the company that is responsible to refloat it.

“They were told, explicitly and with clarity, that the barge that sank is an imminent threat to the safe navigation and a hazard (…),” said Luis Fernando Coronado, director of the MOPT’s maritime ports.

The order was issued on May 7 during a meeting between MOPT and company officials.

However, the company has not set a deadline to carry out the process of removing the barge. Nor there seems a deadline set by the MOPT.

On May 6, the MOPT banned the navigation of barges without permits and Maritime officials confirmed the recovery of some 90 gallons of diesel fuel in the barge’s tanks.

The shipwreck triggered a red alert by the National Emergency Commission (CNE) and a temporary fishing ban. The Instituto Costarricense de Pesca y Acuicultura (Incopesca) is waiting on results of several studies of water in the peripheries of the Gulf of Nicoya, to determine the extent and the scope of the spill. The analysis is being carried out by the Laboratorio Nacional de Aguas (National Water Laboratory).

The Ministerio Publica is following through with charges against the company, filed with the Fiscalía de Puntarenas, record No. 15-00909-061-PE.


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