During the paralysis of activities of the tuna fleet, the artisans of Guayas, Santa Elena and Manabí dedicate themselves to maintaining the boats. Twenty ships are constantly rocking along a stretch of the fishing piers of the port of Manta.
These vessels, with another 35 that are part of the tuna fleet of the country, are in maintenance while the closure period is in force. This paralization, which began on July 29 and will end on October 8, seeks the sustainability of tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean (OPO), said Tino Buehs, president of the Ecuador Tuna Association (Atunec).
However, the closure reactivates nearly 10,000 jobs in Guayas, Santa Elena and Manabí. An army of craftsmen works among the eight dams and the docks of the ports of the three provinces. Manuel Delgado, assistant of a fleet of ships, explained that prior to the beginning of the work, the ammonia gas that lies in the pipes of the ships is emptied as part of the safety protocols.
This component is collected in a hermetically sealed tank. On the structure of the dock the materials for the maintenance of the boats are moved with the help of eight cranes.
Macias, with 18 years of experience, leads a group of 25 workers who are responsible for removing the old paint and replace it with a new one. He said that the ships enter the eight dams in the country, but that space is not enough, so some ship-owners choose to take their ships to dams in neighboring countries.
Meanwhile, on the ground, a number of repair workshops and manufacturing of parts and other items for boats are activated. That is the case of César Moreira, craftsman specialized in network repair that does not rest during this season. He has been working for 15 years.
“In this time there is more work because the ships that arrive have to fix the nets”. The business chain extends to the food preparation premises and the transport sector. Tuna entrepreneur Lucía Fernández pointed out that according to the needs of each vessel the owners of the ships spend between $ 300,000 and $ 2’000,000 per ship.
According to data from the owner of the Atunec, each boat invests about $ 500,000. “This injects to the economy of the three provinces around $ 28,000,000. 70% of those resources circulate in Manabí.” Buehs stressed that the workforce of this last town is highly qualified, since the craftsmen attend training constantly.
The staff that works on board for 72 days, which lasts the closure, is affiliated with social security and access to legal benefits, confirmed the representative of the tuna vessels. The second closed season in the country will be from November 9 to January 19.
The measure applies to all vessels of members and non-members of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) of more than 182 metric tons of carrying capacity. Throughout the application of the ban, the discharges and transshipments of tuna or derived products that have been identified as coming from activities that contravene the adopted measures are prohibited.
Technicians with occupation
The tuna ban also reactivates the work of mechanical engineers, experts in engines, hydraulics and communication and satellite technicians. Each ship has equipment connected to the internet. Fifty-five tuna boats are eligible for the tuna ban from July to October, according to Aquaculture.
Activity in hardware stores
The sales of materials and equipment to maintain the ships increase in hardware stores and other locations. (I)