April 14, 2020 (Google Translation) – In relation to the statements made yesterday by the Honorable Deputy Félix González to a radio media outlet, where he pointed out that “a field hospital is not consistent on a ship that has a toxic product such as asbestos”, and that ” he was officiating the Minister of Health, to explain the situation “and to consider another place that” complies with sanitary regulations. ”
In this regard, the Institution is obliged to adequately inform the Public Opinion, regarding the real situation of asbestos that exists in this Unit of the Chilean Navy:
The “Sargento Aldea” Multipurpose Ship, of French origin acquired in 2010, has asbestos only in some confined places and remote from habitability and health sectors (ballast ponds, septic plants, machinery room and hermetic empty spaces located in the part It is lowered from the ship), as many units of this type around the world have, considering that this product was used for a long time as an efficient element to fight fires on board, as a fire retardant.
Upon arrival in the country, although it was not necessary, this Unit was preemptively subjected to an Asbestos Environmental Assessment, in order to have a record to guarantee the adequate working conditions of the personnel working on board.
To comply with the foregoing, between 2016 and 2018 environmental assessments were carried out by a certified laboratory and according to protocols defined by the Institute of Public Health. The results indicate that the requirements of current national regulations are met. That is, the environmental concentration of asbestos fibers in the air does not exceed the limit of 0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter, defined by Supreme Decree No. 594 and, in the particular case of the environmental assessment carried out in the Unit in the year 2018, the concentration did not exceed in any sector the value of 0.0044 fibers per cubic centimeter.
Therefore, unlike what the Honorable Deputy González indicates, it was found that this Unit does comply with the standards defined in DS No. 594 of the MINSAL of 1999 on environmental conditions in workplaces that establish the limit weighted permissible allowance (LPP) for asbestos in any of its forms, in addition to the exempted resolution No. 18 of MINSAL (ISP) of January 9, 2013, which approves the protocol for determining the concentration of asbestos fibers in the air , making this vessel APTO for its operation without risk to people’s health, in all its habitability areas, and especially in the hospital units on board, which as a consequence of a fire in one of its dependencies, were completely rebuilt the year 2019,complying with the sanitary standards for this type of facilities on board a ship and also free of asbestos.
The Institution deeply regrets what was indicated by the Honorable Deputy Félix González, in the note released by DNA, regarding that “the ship is contaminated by asbestos” and that “it did not comply with sanitary regulations”, given that they do not conform to reality. Likewise, we regret that Deputy González did not previously and officially obtain from the Institution, the background to the subject, and has disseminated inaccurate information in a media outlet, especially in the context of the health emergency in which the country is, and may cause public alarm that affects the capacities that the country is making available to go to the aid of all Chileans.
The Chilean Navy made the Multipurpose Ship “Sargento Aldea” available to the community, to cope in the best possible way with the ongoing pandemic, in the same way that it has done it for more than 200 years, with absolute responsibility, delivery and love for the country and its compatriots.