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Image: Revista Puerto

The naval industry opposes the incorporation of three 'used squid jiggers'

Click on the flag for more information about Argentina ARGENTINA
Sunday, June 04, 2023, 15:00 (GMT + 9)

The Argamar company requested authorization to import three vessels built in 2014. The DNU for the modernization of the fishing fleet allows the incorporation of used jiggers less than 20 years old, but it is blocked because six shipyards have stated that they can build them. The fishing company assures that the shipyards have no experience and that their opposition puts many jobs at risk.

The Argentine company with Chinese capital Argamar SA seeks to renew its fleet of jiggers, entering three used boats that are 8 years old, a situation that is contemplated in the Fleet Renewal Decree. In order to move forward with the import, it began to process before the Secretariat of Industry and Productive Development of the Nation, the certificate of import of used goods (CIBU). The Secretariat, complying with the current norm and although the response is not binding, gave intervention to the shipyards asking if this import affects local production and six shipyards assured that they could manufacture ships of these characteristics. From the company they affirm that the current regulations protect them, that the shipyards have no experience in the construction of jiggers and that great damage is being generated to the company and the country because "the generation of a large number of jobs that directly and indirectly would be affected".

Photo: courtesy Pescare

50 year old boats

In 2022 Argamar acquired three fishing permits that authorize the exclusive capture of the Illex squid species and is processing transfers and changes of ownership in its favor with the Undersecretary of Fisheries, having in turn requested the replacement of the three jigger freezer vessels outgoing, Freedom of the Sea; Dasa 508 and Orion 2, for the new incoming ships to incorporate: Hu Shun Yu 06, Hu Shun Yu 07 and Hu Shun Yu 08.

In relation to the outgoing ships, they clarify that two of them have not been operational for several years and the third has not been operating since 2022. They add that these are obsolete ships and a large number of years of use since they were built, around 50 years: Orion 2 in 1973; the Dasa 508 in 1974 and the Libertad del Mar I in 1975.

From Argamar they indicated that the condition of their vessels motivated the request to the fishing authorities for "the replacement of the three fishing units by another three almost new vessels." The actions began in February of this year with the entry of the ships in Tandanor Shipyards to comply with the requirements of the Prefecture and in March they began with the procedures for the incorporation of the three ships to the national registration.

Photo: courtesy Pescare

Decree 145 and the opposition of the shipyards

The company has indicated that its decision to replace the three obsolete and almost 50-year-old jigging vessels is supported by the legal system, especially Decree 145 on the Modernization of the fishing fleet issued in 2019.

Referring to said decree, they indicate that a particular "reservation" was made in the text regarding the replacement of ships when it comes to "Freezer Jigs", expressly allowing the replacement of ships by "used" units as long as they have less than 20 years old since its construction. This exception "was approved unanimously, with the consensus and celebration by the Argentine naval industry sector, including shipyards," they highlighted.

But after the naval sector was consulted, the Economic and Social Council of the Naval Industry expressed its "rejection of such income since there is a national capacity to build said goods." Six shipyards have assured that they can carry out this task, they maintain that alone or in cooperation with other shipyards they can build vessels of this type in a period that can reach up to 62 months for the three vessels.

In his defense, Argamar makes a detailed description of the minutes of the Federal Fisheries Council in relation to the policy of expansion of the jig fleet, considered a tool for the sovereign occupation of the maritime platform and after stating that they have "faithfully complied with the guidelines and established fishing policies", they indicate to the authorities that "this circumstance cannot be ignored or deprived of its effects by the shipyards grouped in the chambers that represent the Argentine naval industry".

For the fishing industry, the opposition of the chambers and the shipyards "clearly demonstrates an act contrary to the law" and they reproach that it has been the shipyards themselves "who have promoted and achieved the regulation of the guidelines for the modernization of the Argentine fishing fleet". . Reinforcing their position, they cite the case of the importation in 2017 of the used jigger boats Huyu 908; Huyu 961 and Huyu 962 that obtained the import certificate despite being older, since its construction, than those that they try to enter.

"Not even Spain builds jigs"

The fishing company maintains that the local supply capacity is not affected: "Beyond recognizing the good intentions on the part of the Argentine shipyards when affirming that they could build them, they currently do not have any precedent that demonstrates having built a jigger fishing vessel freezer with similar characteristics, which is an undeniable and irrefutable fact”.

«We do not agree with the position of the shipyards, who surely and without a doubt with good will and intention and with the desire to want to sustain the jobs, have indicated that they have the capacity and availability of their slipways to carry out the construction of this type of vessel”, indicates the writing of the fishing company and adds; "With the greatest of respect that I deserve, none of the Argentine shipyards has the necessary experience that the specialty requires to carry out these large-scale works, since a freezer jigger ship has never been built in our country."

Photo: Contessi Shipyards -->

"With all due respect to the national shipyards, they have not demonstrated and, for the moment, they will not be able to demonstrate the requirement to produce goods with similar technical performance characteristics, simply because they do not produce them, despite their good intentions and wishes”, points out the fishery and doubts that they could meet the deadlines: “We are aware that they have experienced significant delays in construction, taking double or triple the time they claim to require to build these three jiggers. Therefore, currently they would not comply with the regulatory requirement to build them in a reasonable time and manner".

The letter presents the case of the Contessi Shipyard, for having extensive experience in construction, indicating that, despite this, "in all its history, they built their first 39-meter-long beam freezer ship a few years ago, which was acquired by a company from the same shipyard”.

For Argamar, the case of the Contessi Shipyard shows that a process of knowledge and experience is required to be able to carry out these 71-meter constructions and they add as an outstanding fact that even Spain, "despite its great experience in the construction of fishing vessels which exports to the whole world, including Argentina, has never built a freezer jigger ship in its history”. Assuring at the same time that "the experience and competence are found in Asia, not only because of a matter of infrastructure, but also because of specific experience in fishing for this species."

<-- Photo: Contessi Shipyards

After presenting their arguments and by way of conclusion, they have indicated from Argamar: "The National State, whatever the governmental area that represents it, must respect and enforce the current legal system, avoiding limiting or violating the pre-existing rights already recognized to the administered in clear and precise rules that were even agreed upon and celebrated by the same sector that today has expressed its opposition in this file”.

The Ministry of Industry must now decide whether to grant the import certificate to Argamar so that the three vessels can get ready for the next squid campaign, with the corresponding incorporation of crew members, or if it is obliged to build the three vessels in the country, in a period of at least five years and at the risk, according to the fishing company, that neither of these two things will happen, that is, that the boats will not be built or new jobs will be generated.

Source: Revista Puerto

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