On March 24, 2023, the Chilean Ministry of Environment and MERI Foundation, part of the Cortés Solari Philanthropy project, discovered that the intelligent buoy of the flagship project The Blue BOAT Initiative, had been severely destroyed, being stranded on the island of Lemuy, Chiloé, about 50 miles from its place of origin.
This project, part of Chile’s Country Commitment for ocean conservation, sought, on the one hand, to map ocean acoustics to generate an Early Warning System for the presence of whales, through artificial intelligence, capable of alerting vessels in real time in order to avoid possible collisions with them.
On the other hand, this initiative seeks to generate oceanographic information that allows understanding, analyzing and valuing the marine ecosystem services of Northern Patagonia, for the mitigation of Climate Change.
At the moment, the legal teams are taking all the legal actions related to the events that occurred, while the technical teams are working on evaluating the damages suffered by this buoy, in order to analyze the actions to be taken. The other lines of work of the project, related to Environmental Education and Advocacy, will continue according to the established schedule.
We reiterate our commitment and conviction with the conservation of the ocean and Northern Patagonia, particularly with respect to this public-private, national and international project, which has meant more than 12 years of work and has represented an unprecedented exercise in scientific research for the conservation of marine ecosystems in Chile and the world.
Through the local Maritime Authority, Port Captaincy of Quellón, the information was made available to the Public Prosecutor’s Office for investigation.
“As the Ministry of the Environment, we regret the damage suffered by the buoy and this involuntary interruption of the project in terms of data collection. Without prejudice to this fact, whose causes are being investigated, the Ministry reiterates and reinforces the commitment to the project, in the line of strengthening the collection of scientific evidence to support the processes of public policy formulation and decision making in marine conservation”.
Ms. Maisa Rojas, Chilean Minister of the Environment
“We deeply regret what happened, as it damages not only 12-year scientific research effort of Filantropía Cortes Solari, through Fundación MERI, to understand and conserve our sea, but also compromises a unique Chilean initiative to protect whales and marine biodiversity. None of this will stop our efforts to promote the advancement of science and guide ocean decision-making.
Ms. Sonia Español, Executive Director of MERI Foundation and The Blue BOAT Initiative.