The headquarters of the Chilean Maritime Authority in Antarctica, located in one of the buildings of Base Arturo Prat (WAP CHL-Ø1) was destroyed by fire today, Thursday, July 12, 2018. The Maritime Government is the agency of the Navy that aims to support maritime traffic, collaborate in search and rescue actions, control pollution, support evacuation actions, among other tasks.
The Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH) deeply regrets the fire that during the early hours of Thursday, burned out all the whole installation of the Chilean Antarctic Maritime Administration, administered by the Chilean Navy, on King George Island.
According to Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero, thanks to the emergency work, the 10 people employed there, were unharmed. For the moment, they are in good health and has already offered accommodation in the Scientific Base “Professor Julio Escudero” (WAP CHL-Ø7); for now, they are being supported by staff of the Eduardo Frei Montalva Base, (WAP CHL-Ø5) of the Chilean Air Force.
The INACH will send personnel to the area as soon as possible to evaluate the conditions of the Escudero Scientific Base, adjacent to the Maritime Governance. The collaboration between both bases allowed to give viability and safety conditions to the maritime activities of the Antarctic Scientific Expedition. The Bases of the INACH and the Maritime Governance shared since 2011 the use of a sewage treatment plant in order to meet the environmental commitments derived from the Madrid Protocol. The viability of its use should be defined with urgency, since Base Prof. Julio Escudero represents the main Chilean scientific base, with more than 250 scientists passing through it every summer season.
The Navy has been present in the Antarctic territory since 1957, initially with the base Arturo Prat and then with the Chilean Antarctic Maritime Governance and the Harbor Captaincy of Bahía Fildes, with a permanent presence and also in Bahía Paraíso with a Port Captaincy covered in summer period in facilities of the Chilean Air Force. The damaged building was built in 1990.
https://prensaantartica.com/2018/07/12/incendio-destruye-instalaciones-de-la-gobernacion-maritima-en-el-territorio-antartico-chileno/ and http://www.24horas.cl/nacional/incendio-consume-en-su-totalidad-la-gobernacion-maritima-de-la-antartica-chilena-2763288